Aggressive Driving

BINGHAMTON, NYThe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Offenses such as speeding, following too closely, erratic or unsafe lane changes, not signaling or failing to obey traffic control devices are considered forms of aggressive driving. 

In Broome County aggressive driving is a significant problem. According to 2006 statistics, 14% of the total crashes that occurred that year were caused by drivers following too closely, 9% from unsafe speed and 4% from traffic control disregard. In order to correct these problems, motorists need to slow down and plan ahead. 

To avoid the dangers that aggressive driving can lead to, Broome County residents are urged to evaluate their actions while behind the wheel. Key signs that you might be displaying aggressive behaviors on the road are:

  • Expressing frustration while driving. Taking out your frustrations on your fellow motorists can lead to violence or a crash. Try to relax when you are in your vehicle. Tune the radio to your favorite music. Music can calm your nerves and help you enjoy your time in the car. 
  • Engaging in other activities while driving. Reading, drinking or talking on the phone are distractions that can cause you to act aggressively and are major causes of roadway crashes. Do your best to concentrate on driving at all times and keep distractions at a minimum.
  • Tailgating. Tailgating can cause serious crashes that can result in severe injuries or even death. Keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, at least 1-2 car lengths or more depending on your speed and road conditions.
  • Making frequent or unsafe lane changes or passing on the right to advance ahead.
  • Disregarding traffic control devices.  Driving through red lights can be dangerous to you and to other drivers.
  • Exceeding the speed limit. Speeding increases your risk tremendously for a crash. When you speed, you lose the ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the road. Speeding also extends the distance needed to stop a vehicle in an emergency situation. Drivers tend to speed, tailgate and disobey traffic signals when they are running behind schedule. Being late won’t kill you but driving aggressively just might.
“No one likes to be the victim of an aggressive driver. It’s unnerving, inconsiderate, and dangerous,” said Christine Muss, Traffic Safety Coordinator for Broome County. If you ever are confronted with an aggressive driver, the best solution is to get out of their way. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your-own travel lane. If possible, avoid eye contact. Making eye contact with an aggressive driver can sometimes enrage them. If a driver makes rude or inappropriate gestures towards you, ignore them and do not return them. Be sure to report serious aggressive driving. Have your passenger or, if possible, pull your car over and call the police. 
For more information on aggressive driving, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at


01/13/2009 - 12:36pm