by Josh Woods
Community Traffic Safety Project Coordinator
Highway Safety Network
Although aggressive driving behaviors are among the leading contributing factors in crashes and fatalities in Pennsylvania, many don’t recognize they are aggressive drivers. If you speed excessively, tailgate slower vehicles, race to beat red lights or run stops signs, weave in and out of traffic, pass illegally on the right or fail to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles, you ARE an aggressive driver. Still not sure if you’re an aggressive driver?
Aggressive drivers put themselves, their passengers, and others on the road at increased risk of a crash, which is why municipal law enforcement agencies and the Pennsylvania State Police partner with PennDOT to conduct several high-visibility enforcement details a year to deter these behaviors.
Josh Woods, Community Traffic Safety Project Coordinator with the Highway Safety Network, said every driver is likely to encounter an aggressive driver at some point. Woods offered the following tips for what to do when you encounter an aggressive driver:
· Get out of their way and don’t challenge them.
· Stay relaxed, avoid eye contact, and ignore rude gestures.
· Don’t block the passing lane if driving slower than most traffic.
· Do not attempt to follow or pursue the vehicle. You or a passenger may call the police. But if you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.
Many people mistakenly associate aggressive driving with road rage, but that they are different behaviors. Road rage is a criminal offense and is often the result of aggressive driving behavior that escalates into an assault with a vehicle or other dangerous weapon. Here is a video that demonstrates the difference between the two: Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJh7tVLn7uk.
According to PennDOT data, there were 6,206 aggressive driving crashes in 2021, resulting in 126 fatalities. Additionally, aggressive driving is the #1 cause of crashes in Clinton County this year.
So, please do your part to keep our roadways safe – obey the speed limit and do not follow too closely, pass illegally, race to beat yellow lights, coast through stop signs or fail to yield the right-of-way. And always buckle up!
For general information on Aggressive Driving, visit https://www.penndot.pa.gov/TravelInPA/Safety/TrafficSafetyAndDriverTopics/Pages/Aggressive-Driving.aspx