Most people think that aggressive driving includes only extreme instances of "road rage." Road rage is often provoked by some seemingly minor infraction which may even be inadvertent: cutting into someone's lane a little too closely, failing to use a turn signal, or passing too close, maybe. And sometimes these infractions are carried out on purpose by other aggressive drivers, who seem to believe that the safety of others is less important than their own desire to reach their destination, preferably as fast as possible.
These actions can cause another "offended" driver to become irrationally angry, and to react by using his vehicle as though it is some kind of tool for revenge. The "injured" party feels justified in running someone off the road, hitting someone's vehicle, purposefully cutting in front of someone, or undertaking some other dangerous and antagonistic activity with the intent to "get even," and to "show them how it feels."
In some cases, drivers have been shot at and driven into ditches or oncoming lanes. And when two angry drivers decide to use their vehicles in a contest of who is "tougher" or "right", the results can be deadly not only to themselves but to others. Unfortunately, these angry drivers not only have little or no regard for the safety of the other party, they have no concern for anyone else who has the misfortunate to be in the immediate vicinity.
But aggressive driving does not just include these sorts of extreme behaviors. Aggressive driving can be characterized, essentially, as not driving "defensively." A driver who drives while keeping the safety of himself and other users of the roadway in the forefront of his mind is a defensive driver, and driving defensively should be every driver's primary priority, regardless of how other drivers may behave.
In contrast, aggressive driving may include driving behaviors such as:
- Ignoring traffic signs and signals;
- Using shoulders in congested traffic to "get ahead";
- Speeding up when lights turn yellow;
- Ignoring pedestrians or bicyclists;
- Changing lanes rapidly without signaling;
- Passing illegally;
- Pulling onto the road when there is not a big enough gap in the traffic;
- Nosing into a slow-moving lane where there is insufficient space;
- Weaving through traffic;
- Chasing other drivers;
- Using a vehicle purposefully to block drivers who would like to pass;
- Refusing to yield to a driver with the right-of-way;
- Slamming on the brakes solely to get the driver or drivers behind to react;
- Speeding up to gesture, honk, yell, or flash lights at another driver;
- Purposefully slowing down and speeding up to force another driver to react;
- Racing other drivers; and
- Other erratic and unpredictable behavior.
While most motorists are probably guilty of speeding at one time or another, and while some drivers may be guilty of having undertaken one or another of these actions at some time, there are other drivers who have a habit or propensity to do many of these things regularly and to ignore other drivers in their selfish and aggressive use of the roadways. And all too often, these behaviors lead, eventually, to an accident. Some of them have tragic results.
Studies conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have concluded that some manner of aggressive driving is a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities, and that speeding, alone, is a factor in about one-third of all fatal crashes. When you apply those ratios to the actual number of people killed in car accidents in the United States in a given year--for example, 2011, when 32,367 people died from car accidents--it is sobering to realize that over 16,000 people might have lived if the at-fault drivers had simply controlled their aggressive behavior when getting behind the wheel.
And that is only the fatalities. Outside of fatalities, many thousands of people are injured in accidents caused by aggressive driving. Over 2 million people are injured in traffic accidents in the United States every year; in Illinois alone, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation, 84,172 people were injured in 2011. As you confront these numbers, you also come to realize that aggressive driving does not just cost us in lives and injuries; it also causes a lot of anguish, expense, stress, misery, pain, suffering, and damage--not just for accident victims, but for their family members and friends, as well.If You Have Been Injured in an Accident Caused by an Aggressive Driver, Abels & Annes Can Help
Too often, aggressive drivers get away with their behavior. They create problems for other drivers in their wake as they go speeding on their way, oblivious of the confusion, frustration, or fright they have caused. Sometimes the problems they bring about are tragic, leading to serious car accident injuries or even fatalities, and on occasion they are among the ones who suffer from havoc they have produced. Either way, aggressive drivers need to be made to answer for the damage they cause.
If you have been injured, or someone you love has been injured or killed in a car accident by a driver who was driving aggressively, the attorneys at Abels & Annes can assist you. We believe that those who have suffered an injury caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of others can play an important role in making sure that justice is served. Our civil justice system is intended to make sure that people who cause harm to others take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. This is especially important when individuals hurt others through carelessness, and when their behavior demonstrates a callous disregard for the severe harm that their behavior can cause to others.
At Abels & Annes, our dedicated personal injury attorneys have many years of experience representing car accident victims who have been injured in a variety of circumstances, including from drivers whose erratic, illegal, or aggressive behavior has caused an accident. Our goal is to help car accident injury victims to obtain recovery for the damages they have suffered, both physically and financially, from culpable individuals. We can represent motorists, motorcyclists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicle passengers, including minors and children whose injuries often create medical needs that persist well into the future.
If you would like a consultation regarding your aggressive driving car accident, contact the Chicago personal injury attorneys at Abels & Annes at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or locally in Chicago at (312) 924-7575. Alternatively, you may use the online consultation form here on this website. Your consultation is completely free, and there is no obligation to hire us. If we agree to proceed with a case on your behalf, you will not pay us any fees unless and until damages are recovered for you. Do not let aggressive drivers get away with their irresponsible behavior, or they will continue to place everyone at risk.