We all know how frightening it feels to be on the road with an aggressive driver. A driver who speeds, weaves dangerously through traffic, and tailgates put everyone at risk.
More than 60 percent of drivers report aggressive behavior on the road, though about one-half of drivers also admit to occasionally being part of the problem. You are right to be concerned, as aggressive driving contributes to more than half of all fatal car crashes in the U.S.
Road rage was a contributing factor in 1,114 crashes in Texas in 2014, including 23 accidents causing incapacitating injuries and six fatal accidents, according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
As an Austin driver, it’s important to be aware of the problem, recognize the behaviors, and know what your options are if you’re involved in a collision caused by an aggressive driver.
Behaviors of Aggressive Drivers in Austin
Not only is it important to avoid becoming an aggressive driver, but it’s also important to recognize the warning signs of driver aggression and road rage, so you can keep your cool and stay safe on the road:
- Lane blocking: Aggressive drivers often stay in the left lane and refuse to let others pass.
- Tailgating: Driving too close to the car in front makes a rear-end collision likely.
- Lack of signal use: Failure to indicate that one is about to turn or change lanes leaves other drivers unable to react in time.
- Road rage: Using obscene hand gestures or yelling out the window often results can cause a situation spiraling out of control. Do not respond in kind to a driver who acting out.
- Too much horn: Honking the horn unnecessarily can be a form of road rage and is just plain distracting to other drivers.
- Headlight use: If another car is approaching, drivers should keep their headlights on low beams. Passing with high beams on, or retaliating to bad behavior by switching on the high beams, is aggressive driving behavior.
- Aggressive eye contact: If an aggressive driver is trying to pick a fight, avoid eye contact completely and do not engage in any way. Call the police.
How to Avoid Danger and Fines in Austin for Aggressive Driving
The state of Texas takes aggressive driving seriously and has taken firm measures to remove these dangerous drivers from the road. Motorists can be fined $200 for every violation associated with aggressive driving, and a conviction can mean jail time.
To avoid these penalties and the risk of being held responsible for an accident, keep your emotions in check on the road and leave enough time for your journey so that you are not thrown into a frustrated state if you are delayed.
If you’re on the road alongside an aggressive driver, stay calm and drive defensively to handle the aggressive driver. Don’t engage with him or her, and use your horn sparingly, if at all. Let the aggressive driver pass, and remember that you can always pull over. If you’re worried about your safety, or the safety of others, call 9-1-1.
Your Legal Options After an Austin Car Accident Caused by Aggressive Driving
If an aggressive driver causes an accident in Texas, he or she may be held responsible for the injuries caused. Following an accident involving an aggressive driver, you should speak with an experienced lawyer who can help you get your case filed and move forward. At Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C., our car accident attorneys can assist you in pursuing the compensation you deserve, whether that means through an insurance claim or legal action filed in civil court. Contact us for a free case evaluation or should you have other questions about car accidents.
- American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: Aggressive Driving: Type of Problem Being Addressed
- Department of Motor Vehicles: Behaviors of Aggressive Driving
- Texas Department of Transportation: Aggressive Drivers