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Is aggressive driving a problem in New York?

New Yorkers who have spent any time on the road have either witnessed or experienced aggressive driving. The New York State Police define aggressive driving as "operat[ing] a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways."

What does aggressive driving look like? Tailgating, driving too fast, ignoring traffic controls, changing lanes frequently and often in an unsafe manner and so on.

What causes aggressive driving? A combination of factors. But, at its most basic: people are busy, roads are crowded and that causes frustration. For some, that frustration boils over into road rage.

How big of a problem is road rage? A growing one. Media routinely report on instances of road range. Meanwhile, a survey by the American Automobile Association found that around half of drivers felt aggressive drivers were a major safety threat on the road.

Is aggressive driving the same as road rage? No. Aggressive driving is merely aggressive. Road rage, by contrast, is either physically assaulting another driver or their vehicle or using a vehicle to do so. Road rage is a violent crime with steeper penalties that garden-variety aggressive driving.

How should New Yorkers respond to aggressive drivers? Stay calm, keep your distance, drive safely and report it to the police.

With aggressive driving on the rise, an increasing number of New Yorkers will likely find themselves in a car accident with these drivers. Maybe they could not stop in time because they were tailgating or they tried to change lanes but misjudged the space available or failed to see a car in their blind spot. Whatever the reason, in these situations, New Yorkers may benefit from discussing their situation with an experienced car-accident attorney.

Source: SafeNY.NY.gov, "What is aggressive driving?," accessed on Aug. 9, 2015

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