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Thursday, August 12, 2010

New York State: Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Road Rage vs Aggressive Driving
What is Aggressive Driving?

Before defining what aggressive driving is, let’s define what it is not. Although commonly used interchangeably, aggressive driving and road rage are not synonymous with each other. Road rage refers to a criminal offense or violent crime. For example, using a vehicle as a weapon and assaulting a driver are both examples of road rage.

New York State Police define an aggressive driver as a person who “Operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or push manner, without regard for the rights or safety of other users of the streets and highways.” Using this definition makes it easier for people to distinguish between the two.

>Spotting an Aggressive Driver

If it seems that aggressive drivers are all over New York State, it is probably because they are. Instances of aggressive driving are increasing. The increase is typically associated with the overcrowding of roadways which leads to congestion which causes drivers’ frustration. To ensure safety on the roadways it is important to understand how to spot an aggressive driver. The following traffic violations are typically displayed by aggressive drivers:

  • Speeding

  • Frequent and/or Unsafe Lane Changing

  • Failing to signal a lane change or turn

  • Tailgating

  • Failing to Yield to the driver with the Right of Way

  • Running traffic lights

  • Driving while impaired


  • >>Encountering an Aggressive Driver

    After defining the difference between aggressive driving and road rage, the thought of sharing a roadway with an aggressive driver should be less frightening. However, it is still unsafe. Even thought aggressive drivers are not trying to physically harm you, they do not have any regard for the safety of other drivers. If (when) you encounter an aggressive driver, the New York State Police recommends the following basic tips:

    • Remain Calm

    • Maintain a Safe Distance

    • Do not pass, unless it’s absolutely necessary

    • Once it’s safe, change lanes and move out an aggressive drivers way

    • If unable to change lines and being tailgated, maintain a safe speed and do not respond to any hostile gestures


    >>>Avoiding Aggressive Drivers

    Wouldn't it be great if there was a fool proof way to guarantee avoidance of aggressive drivers? Unfortunately, that is not possible. However, there are things drivers can do individually to reduce the likelihood of encountering an aggressive driver. The following tips and the will help drivers ensure their safety.


    • Observe common courtesy.

    • Avoid actions that can provoke aggressive behaviors from other drivers.

    • Reduce your stress level while driving.

    • Keep your emotions in check.

    • Before reacting, think about the possible reactions to your reactions.




Adhering to the recommended driving tips listed above will help to avoid the frustration of dealing with an aggressive driver. However, it is important to remember that drivers who are unable to keep their emotions under control while driving are a greater risk to themselves than the people around them are.

Learn more about the Dangers of Aggressive Driving with a safety course from SafeDriver.com.


Additional Articles: Are you and Aggressive Driver?

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