Keep Your Cool and Steer Clear of Aggressive Driving

By: Andrea M. Cohick, Lawyer at Metzger Wickersham

A vehicle rockets past you on the highway, weaves in an out of traffic, is riding on your tailgate, races through an intersection trying to beat a red light. Drivers see it every day or hear about it from family and friends that have encountered it…aggressive driving.

Speeding and other aggressive driving behaviors are among the leading factors of highway crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania. In 2019, there were 29,640 speeding-related crashes in Pennsylvania, resulting in 415 fatalities.

Data gathered by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirms the perception that men tend to speed, tailgate, merge dangerously, and make rude gestures or honk at other drivers more than women. The survey finds that women also admit to some dangerous driving habits, such as running red lights. Overall, younger male and female drivers tend to be more aggressive than older drivers.

Regardless of gender, nearly 8 in 10 (79%) American drivers demonstrate aggressive behaviors behind the wheel. Speeding tops the list, with men being the biggest culprit, though women are not far behind.

Tips to Manage Road Rage Scenarios

If you encounter an aggressive driver or find your temper rising, PennDOT and AAA offer some tips to help keep you safe:

  • Remember to slow yourself down and breathe deeply.
  • Don’t attempt to challenge or follow/pursue the vehicle. Safely get out of their way and create distance between you and other motorists.
  • Don't block the passing lane if you are driving slower than most of the traffic.
  • Don’t Offend. Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Do Not Respond. Stay relaxed, avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures and also ignore their gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 911 if needed.

To deter aggressive drivers and make Pennsylvania's highways safer for all who use them, PennDOT partners with Pennsylvania State and local police departments to conduct aggressive driving enforcement. Each year, targeted enforcement actions are taken to try and deter aggressive driving. You can do your part to help prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities, by reporting aggressive drivers to local or state police.

How to Report an Aggressive Driver

To report an aggressive driver, pull over and dial 911 or ask your passenger to dial 911. Tell the dispatcher:

  • what the driver is doing wrong;
  • the make and model of the vehicle;
  • its license plate number (and state, if the plate is not a Pennsylvania plate); and
  • your location
  • If you notice what the driver looks like, describe them to the dispatcher, but the Pennsylvania Traffic Safety Enforcement Resource Center recommends avoiding eye contact and staying out of the driver’s way.

The information you provide can not only help stop a driver who is currently driving aggressively but can also provide valuable information to state authorities that they can use to prevent aggressive driving in the future.

Aggressive driving and speeding puts you, your passengers, and others on the road at risk. Slow down, save a life.

If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident due to an aggressive driver, we can help. Contact Metzger Wickersham today to request a free and confidential consultation.

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