Top Reasons Why People Engage in Aggressive Driving
Let’s face it. We all want to get where we are going as soon as possible. Sometimes things get in our way, such as traffic, stop lights, pedestrians, and cyclists. I hear this all the time, “People in (insert literally any city name here) just don’t know how to drive!” Why are we so angry all the time? Why do we feel the need to ‘beat’ everyone else on the road? We can’t change our surroundings. Driving aggressively will get you to your destination only 0.000000002 seconds faster than what it would usually take you, and at the same time wildly increases your chances of crashing.
A study by the AAA Foundation found that an overwhelming 80% of drivers expressed anger or aggression behind the wheel in the past year. More specifically, 51% of respondents purposefully tailgated another vehicle and 47% of respondents yelled at another driver. So, the overarching question is why do people get so angry on the road? Driving is already the most dangerous activity we engage in each day. So why would we start dancing with the devil, so to speak?
You are late
40% of drivers in a survey admitted they engage in aggressive driving when they are late or in a hurry. If you are late to work, school, or any other activity, it always seems like a good idea to put the pedal to the metal and hurry to your destination so that you don’t get in trouble. But, would you rather be five minutes late, or in the hospital? Think of it that way. We never think about these things unless it is too late. Give yourself plenty of time going to your destination. Remember Murphy’s Law, what could go wrong will! Allow ample time for yourself so you won’t be late, resulting in a happy and safe driving experience.
You are trying to “teach someone a lesson”
This Australian study found that aggressive driving behaviors are in response to other people’s driving. The study found that these behaviors were made in retaliation to something that another driver did, which can ultimately escalate into something that can potentially be dangerous to the surrounding vehicles. Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive driving behaviors retaliate with additional aggressive driving in return. Don’t think like this. Always remember you are operating a motor vehicle, and you should give it the respect it deserves. Don’t take it out on the other driver.
You are between the ages of 18-24 (and more likely male)
Younger, less experienced drivers tend to be involved in more aggressive driving-related accidents. Why? According to a survey, men are more likely to engage in aggressive responses to driving than women (54% compared to 46%). Also, 67% of respondents aged 18-24 engaged in aggressive driving, compared to their counterpart, people aged 65 and older, which was only 30%. Younger drivers do not have the experience like other drivers do and are more likely to engage in reckless driving behaviors.
What Does the Law Say?
In Texas, cops can charge you with a reckless driving ticket. Not only can you seriously injure yourselves and others, but you can also be given a $200-dollar fine (and that’s the minimum)! You really don’t want to add additional costs added to your monthly bill. We are already broke college students! According to this website, you can receive this ticket if you engage in these following behaviors:
- Drive a motor vehicle at an excessive or dangerous speed
- Place other drivers at danger by running stop signs or red lights
- Fail to yield the right-of-way to other drivers and pedestrians
- Race with other motor vehicles
- Evade law enforcement
- Pass over a double yellow line on a two-lane highway
- Text and drive
- Talk on a mobile device and drive
- Pass a stopped school bus
- Fail to provide electronic or hand signals
- Drive in such a way that he or she fails to maintain reasonable or proper control of the vehicle
Overall, just remember to always use your signals, never drive aggressively, and drive friendly like we do here in Texas! You don’t want this guy giving you an aggressive driving ticket!
Madison Graham is a student at the University of Texas obtaining her master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning. She loves all things transportation, and her focuses include bicycle and pedestrian accessibility and safety.