Aggressive driving behaviors account for more than half of all fatal crashes. The Chicago area creates a prime environment for aggressive driving. The often congested Chicago roadways are notorious for stop-and-go traffic that can cause even the calmest driver to lose their cool.
However, it is important to remember aggressive driving not only jeopardizes the driver’s safety, it endangers vehicle passengers, as well as occupants of all vehicles on the road. The NHSTA defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses as to endanger other persons or property.” Aggressive driving encompasses a variety of different behaviors, including but not limited to:
– Following improperly
– Erratic or improper lane changes
– Passing where prohibited
– Yelling at other drivers
– Using inappropriate hand gestures toward other drivers
– Aggressive horn honking
– Driving too fast for conditions
– Failure to obey traffic signs
– Changing speeds erratically
– Driving in a reckless, careless, or negligent manner
– Purposeful swerving
– Purposefully cutting another vehicle off
– Driving off the road – onto the shoulder or sidewalk
One of the most common forms of aggressive driving is something we are probably all guilty of: tailgating. You’re driving along the road in a bit of hurry to reach your destination and you find yourself stuck behind a vehicle moving fifteen miles below the speed limit. After following the slow vehicle for a couple minutes you can no longer hide your frustration – you find yourself inches away from the preceding vehicle’s bumper hoping your proximity will encourage the driver to pick up the pace. Tailgating may seem like an innocent act, but it can cause serious accidents. If the driver of the vehicle slams on his brakes your proximity will make it impossible to stop in time to avoid a collision. In addition, tailgating is illegal under Illinois law. A driver will be cited if they are following another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent for the conditions of the roadway (625 ILCS 5/11-710).
One of the most important things to remember about aggressive driving is to remain calm. If another driver is acting aggressively towards you the best thing to do is to resist retaliating in any way. If it is possible to move away from the aggressive driver, do so. Reacting to an aggressive driver will only add fuel to the fire and could cause a dangerous situation to become deadly. Even if the driver’s aggression has caused a collision, stay in your vehicle until the authorities arrive at the scene instead of confronting the motorist. It is important to never underestimate a driver’s potential for aggression especially in high stress situation.
If you believe aggressive driving was a contributing factor to a motor vehicle collision that resulted in a personal injury or injuries to a loved one, you may be entitled to financial compensation. As with tailgating, many aggressive driving behaviors are prohibited by Illinois law. In addition, aggressive driving is negligent driving. If a negligent driver is responsible for a collision that caused your injuries that driver can be held responsible for any and all injuries. Speaking with a personal injury attorney may help you get the information you need to evaluate your options if your life has been affected by a crash.
Prior Blog Entry:
Ice, Snow Contribute to Chicago Car Accidents, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published January 7, 2017.
Aggressive Driving, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Aggressive Driving, Insurance Information Institute.
Aggressive Driving, SafeMotorist.com.