One of the top causes of car accidents that our firm’s San Diego car accident lawyers see every day on the highways and side streets is road rage.  Believe it or not, however, road rage is not as common as something called “aggressive driving,” but it is just as dangerous.

Aggressive driving is different from road rage (which is considered a criminal act) in that it involves tailgating a slower driver, then quickly accelerating over the speed limit to pass the motorist ahead of you and sliding in and out of the flow of traffic to get in front of them.

Aggressive driving is similar to reckless driving, but slightly different from road rage.

So what is road rage then?  That could be anything from showing another driver only your middle finger, displaying a weapon in their direction, or even slightly hitting their car causing minor property damage.  If anything, aggressive driving is similar to reckless driving in that a driver knowingly disregards rules of the road for their own purposes.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several East Coast states are trying to curb the number of aggressive drivers on their roads this summer through a program known as “Smooth Operator.”  Law enforcement in Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia, and Georgia will take part in week long crackdowns this summer to ticket motorists found to be driving too aggressively.

Tickets, such as the ones Maryland is looking to write up, can cost a motorist up to $500.  That’s because in 1999, Maryland found that aggressive driving was the cause behind 3,113 car accidents or about 3.2% of all crashes statewide.  That number grew to 6,111 car accidents (or 6.4%) in 2008, prompting police and government to take measures to prevent this type of behavior on the road.

Whether motorists have adopted a “merge-without-signaling” habit or are one of those “speed-limit-with-a-little-extra-5-mph” of drivers, these techniques can be dangerous.  We have all seen these drivers…at one point in time we have probably been that driver, especially when a slower motorist is draining our rate of speed in the passing lane.

So, what are some solutions to aggressive driving that you can keep in mind this summer?  We have a few tips for you here:

  • Unless you are passing, it is generally best to stay out of the far left hand lane.
  • When someone does try to merge with you, let them if they have enough room.
  • Just because someone else cuts you off does not give you the right to do it to them.
  • Give yourself enough room between cars.  If you are the slow driver, acknowledge that fact and move into a lane that is not designated for fast drivers.

By being a defensive driver and a non-aggressive one, by being calm on the road instead of resorting to rage, by keeping cool instead of seeking commuter’s revenge you are making the road a safer place for everyone.  Who knows, it could be the hottest trend of the season and a timeless fashion that you could take credit for starting.

If you were injured in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, contact our bilingual offices to find out if you can recover a settlement. Call 1-858-551-2090 anytime — day or night — for a FREE Consultation with an experienced San Diego car accident lawyer or click here to submit your case for a FREE Online Review.