One of the common causes of automobile collisions in Arizona is aggressive driving. While extreme cases of aggressive driving get some notoriety on the news, the more mundane instances are often ignored and not well known. This can lead to the misconception that aggressive driving is not that common and not responsible for many collisions or injuries. In fact, the opposite is true. Learn more about aggressive driving law in AZ with our experienced Phoenix car crash attorneys below.
What is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is a common problem on Arizona roadways and is likely underreported because drivers rarely admit to it being a factor in their driving habits. Aggressive driving is a generic term that usually results as a progression of several unlawful or ill-advised driving techniques, including speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, passing in areas that do not allow passing, failure to use a turn signal or blinker, and even darting in and out of lanes of traffic. These actions and others create unsafe conditions on the road by minimizing the amount of time for other drivers to respond appropriately, which may cause accidents and serious injuries.
How is Aggressive Driving Different from Road Rage?
When drivers hear the phrase “aggressive driving,” they may automatically think of “road rage.” However Arizona considers aggressive driving and road rage to be two distinct and separate infractions.
While aggressive driving is dangerous and can be deadly, it is a traffic offense and less severe than road rage. A driver who is cited for aggressive driving will face the possibility of fines and penalties but generally will not face incarceration.
Road rage, alternatively, is a criminal offense and involves an assault with a car or other deadly weapon or an assault precipitated by an incident while driving. As with any criminal offense, the possible penalties can be severe and can include incarceration in jail or prison.
Why is Aggressive Driving So Dangerous?
Studies show that when a driver becomes upset or frustrated, a collision is more likely to occur. This is because the driver tends to focus on their anger and fails to maintain focus on the road. Aggressive drivers are often so focused on their rage that they fail to appreciate other dangers around them.
In these cases, the driver becomes a hazard on the road to himself and others. Similarly, drivers who are the target of aggressive driving may become nervous, leading to a decrease in reaction speed. This kind of response may make an accident more common for all parties.
Experts Caution Against Aggressive DrivingIt can be easy to get annoyed or frustrated while driving but experts caution that these emotions can lead to aggressive driving and therefore should be avoided.
To be as safe as possible, drivers are encouraged to avoid driving distracted, expressing frustrations to other drivers, violating traffic laws, speeding, weaving between lanes, tailgating, riding your car’s break, cutting off other drivers, and making illegal or unsafe turns.
Instead drivers should try to concentrate and focus on the road and on the other drivers while obeying all traffic laws and signals. This leads to a safer driving environment and is likely to significantly reduce the number of Arizona traffic crashes each year.
How to Stay Safe while Sharing the Roads with Aggressive Drivers
Unfortunately, you cannot control the driving habits of others on the road and therefore the most important advice for all drivers is to be on alert for the aggressive drivers and to always drive defensively.
If you notice an aggressive driver, the best thing to do is to get away from that driver and put as much distance between yourselves as possible. The fact remains that many aggressive drivers will continue to drive recklessly and threaten the safety of anyone in their way, so the best course of action is to give those drivers plenty of space.
Do not trade behaviors with another driver including mimicking bad driving habits or exchanging gestures. Engaging an aggressive driver will only make the situation worse. If you spot dangerous driving, you should contact the local police if you are able to do so safely or have a passenger call if it is easier.
Signs of an Aggressive Driver
The signs of road rage are more severe and are often an escalation of aggressive driving. A driver with road rage may intentionally cut off another driver out of anger or annoyance, take extreme risks that threaten everyone in the area, swerve and driver in areas, like shoulders or turn lanes, where driving is not permitted, and put other drivers in such fear that a collision occurs. Sometimes road rage forces a victim to drive off the road and into a ditch or to swerve into a concrete barrier to avoid the enraged driver. In some extreme cases, one driver physically confronts another either in their car or outside of their vehicles in a fight.
Aggressive driving and road rage are unacceptable behaviors in Arizona and nation-wide. The toll they cause is unknown because there is no easy way to measure just how prevalent the problem is but experts estimate it costs billions of dollars each year and is a factor in more than half of all traffic fatalities.
What to do if You Were the Victim of an Accident Caused by an Aggressive Driver
If you have been a victim of aggressive driving or road rage and have been injured, you may be able to bring a civil claim against the at-fault driver or drivers to recover for your losses. A skilled personal injury attorney can advise you about your rights and what your options are with regard to a financial recovery.
At Abels & Annes, P.C., we only practice in personal injury and we only represent accident victims, not insurance companies or those who cause crashes. We have a no-fee guarantee which means that if we do not make a recovery on your behalf, you do not owe us anything, so you can be assured that we will be fighting for you every step of the way.
We are experienced injury attorneys who protect the rights of those injured through no fault of their own and we know how to make a recovery for our clients. If you have been injured in an automobile crash caused by another driver, call the Arizona road rage attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. today for a free telephone consultation or contact us online. We are standing by 24 hours a day, every day, to speak with you so call us now to learn if you have a case.