As Maryland personal injury attorneys and drivers ourselves, it’s not hard to notice one the biggest threats to traffic safety on the road today. As many motorists already know, aggressive driving is a significant cause of many traffic wrecks these days. In fact, just standing on a street corner in Gaithersburg, Annapolis or even Washington, D.C., one can’t help but see some drivers behaving badly.
Whether a person is on the receiving end or not, it’s always a good idea to give an aggressive driver wide berth; and there’s a good reason to do this. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), it has been estimated that the cause of over 50 percent of all fatal passenger car and commercial truck accidents can be traced back to some kind of aggressive driving.
Of course, anyone who has survived a serious car crash knows how easy it is to end up with medical complications as a result, not to mention risk of long-term medical conditions that can persist for the rest of one’s life. The cost of treatment for chronic medical issues and long-term care can be a continual burden to an individual, as well as the victim’s family for months if not years following the initial traffic accident.
As Baltimore car accident lawyers, we’ve seen our share of traffic accidents and the resulting carnage wrought by so-called aggressive drivers. Some may hope, futilely it would seem, that someday we all might see motorists sharing the road in complete harmony with each other. All we can say is that human nature being what it is, don’t hold your breath waiting for that day.
Aggressive driving is well-known for causing a fair amount of car, truck and motorcycle crashes each year across the U.S. No matter where you live, it’s a fair bet that you yourself have witnesses instances of reckless or aggressive driving while heading to work, going to school, or making a shopping run. From that fact alone, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that your chances of being involved in an accident caused by an aggressive or reckless driver are rather good given the statistics.
A while back, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety took a look at data supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) regarding fatal traffic accidents. From that data, the AAA determined that nearly a third of all motor vehicle collisions resulting in at least one death were directly tied to excessive speed (not surprisingly, speeding is a primary trait of aggressive drivers.)
At this juncture, we would point out that all of society moves at a pretty fast pace already; speeding and risky driving habits are no strangers to Maryland’s highways and byways. Just obeying the traffic laws won’t necessarily keep you or your family from becoming another number in a continuous march of statistics.
To do our part, as responsible driver, everyone who takes traffic safety seriously must be diligent and maintain an awareness of the traffic around your vehicle — both ahead and behind your car, truck or motorcycle. Avoiding potentially dangerous traffic situations caused by that small, yet dangerous number of aggressive drivers is one way to protect you and your family from a tragic and potentially fatal traffic wreck.
But be careful how you go about your duty as a responsible driver. Police and other traffic safety experts advise people to fight the sometimes natural impulse to block or otherwise get in the way and slow down an aggressive driver. As much as some motorists may want to do something concrete to impede a speeder or tailgater, it could get you drawn into a possible accident.
The experts advise that most any attempt to slow down an aggressive driver will likely inflame that individual and might cause an escalation on the part of the aggressive driver, turning bad behavior into potentially deadly actions for you or your vehicle’s occupants. Considering the potential risk and it is much better to simply report instances of aggressive driving to the proper authorities, such as local law enforcement or the Maryland State Police.