Definition of Aggressive Driving under Indiana Law

Jun 5

Were you aware that according to an AAA Safety Culture Index, approximately 80% of the motorists that were surveyed believe one of the biggest threats to road safety is aggressive drivers?  Additionally, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving behaviors significantly contribute to vehicle accidents, with thousands of crashes occurring annually because of aggressive driving.  Moreover, aggressive driving auto accidents kill between two to four times as many people as drunk drivers. In our article, we’re going to define what aggressive driving is, and we’re going to discuss various other aggressive driving topics you need to know.  If you have been recently involved in an aggressive driving accident, you should consider seeking legal assistance from an Indiana aggressive driving accident attorney at the Blackburn Romey law firm. We take aggressive driving accidents seriously and do our best to obtain the compensation you deserve for your various damages.

What Exactly Is The Definition Of Aggressive Driving?

When you think of aggressive driving, road rage incidents might be the first thing that you think of, but the term aggressive driving encompasses many more hazardous driving behaviors. It can be defined as any type of driving that is purposely enacted to endanger other people or property.  Often aggressive driving isn’t as dramatic as an enraged driver forcing another driver off the road. This driving behavior can also be as simple as failing to yield or signal the correct way while driving.

What Are The Most Common Aggressive Driving Behaviors?

Besides road rage, many other types of aggressive driving behaviors are commonly seen in Indiana.  For example, speeding is classified as the aggressive driving behavior that is most often associated with fatal auto accidents. Data from the NHTSA substantiated this claim by revealing that speeding plays a significant role in about 26% of fatal motorcycle and car crashes.  Below you will find that we have briefly discussed some of the other behaviors classified as aggressive driving in Indiana.

  • Drivers who race other vehicles.
  • Drivers that change lanes erratically.
  • Drivers who cut off other drivers.
  • Drivers who drive through red lights.
  • Drivers who drive in locations that are prohibited.
  • Drivers who make improper turns.
  • Drivers who speed during bad weather.
  • Drivers who box other cars in.
  • Drivers who fail to adhere to road rules.

Additionally, the American Safety Council statistics have shown that as much as 37% of aggressive driving incidents have involved a firearm.

Aggressive Drivers Are Known To Cause Serious Injuries

Unfortunately, aggressive drivers are known to put others at risk of serious injuries. Victims of aggressive driving accidents have suffered injuries including burns, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, paralysis, broken bones, lacerations, soft tissue injuries, and facial fractures. These accident injuries can range from minor to major and can affect victims for weeks, months, and years, if not permanently.

What Are The Causes Of Aggressive Driving?

Research suggests many causes of aggressive driving behaviors, including external and internal factors.

External Factors

  • Traffic Congestion: Traffic congestion due to rush hours, collisions, or other high traffic areas is frustrating to most drivers but intolerable to some. Impatient drivers may respond by tailgating, changing lanes abruptly, or lashing out at someone who slows their progress.
  • Construction: While construction is necessary to maintain and improve our roads, it can cause frustrating delays. Too many people hit unexpected slowdowns due to road work, causing increasing impatience and aggression.
  • Running Late: Some drivers will likely display aggressive driving habits if they are running late for school, work, or an appointment. This might be especially true if they hit traffic or end up behind a slower driver.

Internal Factors

  • Anonymity: Many drivers feel like their car insulates them from the world. This sense of anonymity can promote antisocial behavior, increasing the likelihood of acting irresponsibly. In most cases, the driver’s feeling of anonymity can manifest in extreme rudeness they would usually not display in person.
  • Personal Issues: If a driver has emotional struggles with relationships, jobs, or other personal matters, they might overflow into their driving habits and they might lash out at others on the road.
  • Mental Health: Mental health concerns often contribute to aggressive driving habits. Individuals with high levels of anxiety might have reduced emotional regulation and impulse control. They’re, therefore, likely to lash out when they feel impatient or frustrated on the road.

Whether the reason for aggressive driving is external factors like traffic congestion or internal factors like stress, it might lead to accidents and injuries.

Tips for Avoiding Aggressive Driving

You can avoid aggressive driving through self-awareness and consideration for other drivers. More importantly, adhering to traffic laws will get you safely to your destination.

Here are a few tips to avoid aggressive driving habits:

  • Allocating more travel time to arrive at your destination will dramatically reduce stress.
  • Stay calm: Remember your goal is to reach the destination safely
  • Limit the use of the left lane when overtaking
  • Avoid responding angrily to aggressive drivers, yelling obscenities, or making inappropriate hand gestures.
  • Make prior plans and anticipate delays
  • Avoid tailgating or flashing your lights behind a driver
  • Don’t challenge an aggressive driver by avoiding eye contact and ignoring rude gestures

More importantly, remember you can’t control the traffic, but you can control yourself, your emotions, and your driving.

Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

Road rage is a deliberate disregard of the safety of others. On the other hand, aggressive driving occurs when a driver becomes impatient. Examples of aggressive driving habits include tailgating, sudden lane changes, and excessive honking.

Road range actions are more serious, which may include using your car as a weapon to hurt others or drawing a gun, blunt object, or knife to threaten or harm another motorist.

Under Indiana law, aggressive driving is a class A misdemeanor that can mean fines or jail time. In addition, if reckless driving causes an accident that results in injuries, the injured victim has a legal right to obtain compensation from the at-fault party.

Speak With An Indiana Aggressive Driving Accident Attorney Today To Discuss Your Lawsuit

Aggressive driving accidents can be incredibly traumatizing and result in financial, physical, and emotional damages. If you have been involved in an aggressive driving accident and would like to seek compensation, you can speak with an attorney at Blackburn Romey. Our aggressive driving accident lawyers serve Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, South Bend, Lafayette, or Terre Haute. Our lawyers have extensive experience dealing with aggressive driving accidents and can help you file a claim. Get in touch with our Indiana law firm as soon as possible before it’s too late.

Tom Blackburn

Blackburn Romey founding partner Tom Blackburn graduated with honors receiving a degree from Indiana University at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law. Initiating his legal career in 1977, he has been active in practicing law and currently serves as a member of the Indiana State Bar Association on the Ethics and Advertising Committees, the American Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, as a board member at the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association, and as an appointed member of the Executive Committee for the State of Indiana for the National Trial Lawyers Association.

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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by Founding Partner, Tom Blackburn, who has more than 47 years of legal experience, including over 39 years specializing as a personal injury attorney.