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Typical Behaviors Of Aggressive Drivers

What Are The Typical Behaviors Of Aggressive Drivers

6 Characteristics of Aggressive Drivers: Identifying Risks

For many of us, driving is a key part of our everyday lives. The more time we spend behind the wheel, the more experience we gain, and the better our understanding of how to stay safe on the roads becomes. However, it can be more challenging to assess how safe the driving of others might be, and in stressful situations, it can become even harder to predict their behavior. The reality is that there are drivers on the road every day who exhibit erratic and aggressive behaviors, which can lead to accidents or even more severe consequences. In this article, we look into the typical aggressive driving behaviors to help you identify them on the road, allowing you to make better decisions behind the wheel. First, let’s take a closer look at the 3 types of aggressive driving behavior.

  1. Verbal aggression. Verbal aggression includes yelling or swearing at other drivers or giving them the finger when they cut you off in traffic or park too close to your car.
  2. Physical aggression. Physical aggression involves actions such as bumping into another vehicle or getting out of your car to confront another motorist after an accident.
  3. Visual aggression. Visual aggression includes making obscene gestures or flashing headlights to signal anger at other motorists on the roadways.

Identifying Aggressive Driving Behavior

Typical Behaviors Of Aggressive Drivers
Typical Behaviors Of Aggressive Drivers

1. Overtaking In A Dangerous Manner

overtaking a vehicle while driving

Overtaking is a driving maneuver in which a driver passes by another vehicle traveling in the same direction, especially on multi-lane roads. In many countries, an overtaking vehicle is required to move into an adjoining lane if the highway has two or more lanes traveling in the same direction.

When performed on multi-lane roads, the safety of overtaking depends upon the actions taken by all drivers involved in the maneuver. If a driver decides to overtake, they should be aware of other vehicles around them and take appropriate action to avoid collisions with these vehicles. The most important thing to remember is that you should only overtake when it is safe to do so.

Why Overtaking Dangerously Is Dangerous:

  • Risk of Collision: Misjudgment can lead to head-on or side collisions.
  • Sudden Braking: Overtaking without space can cause sudden braking and potential accidents.
  • Startle Factor: Unexpected overtaking can make other drivers react unpredictably.

What You Should Do Instead:

  • Properly Judge the Situation: Ensure there’s enough space and no oncoming traffic.
  • Use Indicators and Check Blind Spots: Alert other drivers and ensure the way is clear.
  • Respect Traffic Rules: Adhere to road markings and overtaking rules.

2. Confrontational Speech Or Actions (Road Rage)

Confrontational Speech Or Actions

Did you know that 62% of drivers experience road rage? This shows how common it is to feel frustrated while driving from time to time, but most of us do not make this obvious to other motorists. While you should always mainly pay attention to your driving, motorists who are confrontational may gesture to you, shout, or blare their car horn to catch your attention. This may be in response to a perceived slight on your part – such as turning or overtaking, even done safely – and can lead to car accidents.

Angry drivers are rarely careful drivers, after all. If you are on the road with a confrontational driver, remain calm and do not respond. In most cases, they will drive away if you don’t engage. If you happen to see a driver who is gesturing at another motorist, again it is best to avoid engaging with the situation.

Why Confrontational Speech Or Actions Are Dangerous:

  • Distraction: Engaging in or witnessing confrontations can divert attention from the road.
  • Escalation of Aggression: Responses can provoke further aggressive behavior, increasing risk.
  • Impaired Judgment: Anger can cloud judgment and lead to poor driving decisions.

What You Should Do Instead:

  • Stay Calm: Focus on your driving and avoid reacting to provocations.
  • Avoid Engagement: Do not respond to aggressive gestures or shouts.
  • Create Distance: If possible, put distance between yourself and aggressive drivers to reduce potential risks.

3. Tailgating


We have all found ourselves stuck in traffic from time to time, especially during rush hour. While it can be annoying, it is never an excuse for reckless driving or making the experience more stressful for others. One of the common signs of an aggressive driver, however, is tailgating. This is when a driver will inch closer to the vehicle in front, and this can feel quite threatening and difficult to deal with. It also raises the chances of a collision on your rear end.

If you find yourself in this situation, it can be tempting to tap the brakes to try and encourage the tailgator to back off, but this can only make the situation worse. Try to remain calm and focus on your driving, continuing to keep your distance from the car in front of you. Engaging in aggressive driving yourself in response will only make the situation worse.

Why Tailgating Is Dangerous:

  • Increased Risk of Collision: Being too close reduces reaction time, leading to potential rear-end accidents.
  • Driver Anxiety: The driver being tailgated may feel threatened, leading to stress and impaired judgment.
  • Reduced Vision: The tailgater has limited visibility of the road ahead, making it hard to anticipate changes.

What You Should Do Instead:

  • Stay Calm: Focus on your driving without reacting aggressively.
  • Maintain Safe Distance: Continue to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front, even if it is tailgated.
  • Safe Lane Change: If possible and safe, change lanes to let the tailgater pass.

4. Speeding

GPS Tracking GIF

Speeding is a major cause of traffic injuries, and it can endanger other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. If you are going too fast for the conditions on the road, you might not be able to brake safely when you need to. This can lead to a collision with another vehicle or object. Speeding also increases the severity of injuries in an accident: if you’re doing over the speed limit at 100 km/h (60 mph), then hitting something at 30 km/h (20 mph) will incur much more damage than if your vehicle had been traveling at 50 km/h (30 mph). The faster you’re driving when you crash into something else—whether it’s another car or a guardrail—the more likely someone will suffer serious injuries or even die as a result of that collision.

You have to slow down during winter driving even if you’re running late, especially if you have kids onboard. Always be mindful of child passenger safety.

Why Speeding Is Dangerous:

  • Stopping Distance: Speeding increases the stopping distance. For instance, at 60 mph, it typically takes a vehicle 4-5 times the distance to stop compared to 30 mph, not including reaction time.
  • Severity of Crashes: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in 2019, speed was a factor in 31% of U.S. teen driver fatalities.
  • Loss of Vehicle Control: At higher speeds, it’s harder to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, potentially causing the vehicle to roll over or go off the road.

What Teen Drivers Should Do Instead:

  • Stay Informed: Familiarize themselves with statistics and real stories about the consequences of speeding to grasp the gravity of the issue.
  • Drive According to Conditions: Reduce speed based on road, weather, and traffic conditions, not just the posted speed limit.
  • GPS Tracking: a GPS vehicle tracker can alert parents via email or text if their teenager is driving too fast.

5. Incorrect Lane Changing

Incorrect Lane Changing

Incorrect lane changes are one of the most common ways aggressive drivers show their displeasure with other drivers. These changes can take any number of forms, but they all involve switching lanes to avoid merging with another driver or letting another driver pass them. They may also result from confusion over which lane is appropriate or intended for use at a particular time.

Aggressive drivers who do this often signal their intentions with an abrupt move into another lane, slamming on their brakes if necessary to make it clear that they’re not going to let anyone cut them off. This behavior can lead to road rage incidents and accidents that could cause serious injuries or fatal crashes for innocent bystanders. Please be mindful of pedestrian safety.

Why Incorrect Lane Changes Are Dangerous for Drivers:

  • Unexpected Movements: Abrupt lane changes can catch other drivers off guard, reducing their reaction time.
  • Potential for Collisions: Sudden moves, especially without signaling, increase the risk of side-swiping another vehicle.
  • Braking Risks: Slamming on brakes after a lane change can cause rear-end collisions, endangering both the aggressive driver and others.

What Drivers Should Do Instead:

  • Signal Intentions Early: Always use turn signals well in advance before changing lanes.
  • Check Blind Spots: Ensure the lane is clear by checking mirrors and blind spots before moving.
  • Prioritize Pedestrian Safety: Always be mindful of pedestrian crossings, especially when making sudden lane changes near intersections.

6.  Running Red Lights

 Running Red Lights 

You might think running a red light saves time, but is it worth the risk? Imagine this: as you speed through, another car, thinking they have the right of way, enters the intersection. Within seconds, lives can change. Even if you narrowly miss other vehicles, your rush can make drivers panic, swerving or braking suddenly. And don’t forget about pedestrians. They trust the green signal, never expecting someone to dash through. We get it, waiting can be frustrating. But those extra moments spent at a red light are moments invested in everyone’s safety. So next time, take a breath, wait, and drive responsibly.

Why Running Red Lights Is Dangerous:

  • Collision Risk: Speeding through can lead to side impacts with vehicles crossing on their green signal.
  • Driver Panic: Your haste can cause other drivers to swerve or brake abruptly, leading to potential accidents.
  • Pedestrian Danger: People crossing on their green signal aren’t expecting vehicles to run the red light, risking severe injuries.

What Drivers Should Do Instead:

  • Practice Patience: Wait for the green light even if you’re in a hurry; safety always comes first.
  • Stay Alert: Pay attention to traffic signals and other road users, ensuring you’re always driving in sync with them.
  • Plan Ahead: Leave earlier for your destinations, so you don’t feel pressured to rush through intersections.

Related Article: How Is Dangerous Driving Prevented

Frequently Asked Questions

Absolutely. Consulting car accident attorneys or accident lawyers is highly advised, especially if you sustained injuries in a traffic accident. They can guide you on insurance claims, and accident settlements, and provide legal advice.

Very often. Human error, including aggressive driving behaviors like speeding or running red lights, is a predominant factor in many road accidents. In fact, behaviors of aggressive drivers, like unexpected lane changes or tailgating, can startle others on the road, leading to mistakes and subsequent accidents.

Yes, distracted driving is a major factor in many vehicle accidents. When drivers divert their attention from the road, whether due to phone use, adjusting controls, or other distractions, their ability to react timely diminishes. This lack of focus often leads to errors, which can cause road accidents, some resulting in traumatic brain injuries or death.

Yes, there are several leading causes of car accidents. Driver error, such as drowsy driving or driving under the influence, ranks high. Weather conditions can also play a part. Furthermore, factors like a driver’s ability being compromised or not adhering to stop signs can cause car accidents.

Yes, the influence of alcohol is significant. Drunk driving remains a top cause of car accidents. Alcohol impairs a driver’s ability, judgment, and reaction times. Consequently, driving under the influence greatly increases the risk of an accident occurring.

Aggressive driving is a dangerous behavior with serious consequences. When we explore ‘what are the typical behaviors of aggressive drivers,’ we realize that this is more than just an annoyance—it’s a tangible risk to road safety. Recognizing these behaviors is essential not only for our protection but for everyone sharing the road. Always bear in mind that personal challenges might be the root of someone’s aggressive or impaired driving; thus, a bit of understanding goes a long way.

While you can’t control every driver’s actions, being vigilant and informed about these typical signs of aggressive driving can help you adjust your own behaviors. With this knowledge, you’re better equipped to navigate around potential dangers and always arrive at your destination safely.

Sage Curby
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