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Are you an aggressive driver?

Aggressive driving and road rage cause numerous accidents and injuries every year. Road rage is a criminal offense.

Those who have spent any length of time behind the wheel may have encountered another driver who made them fear for their lives. Whether it involves those who are speeding, weaving in and out of lanes or trying to run another driver off the road, aggressive driving is a serious epidemic in Georgia and elsewhere in the country. Disturbingly, recent studies have suggested that most people participate in some form of aggressive driving at some point during their lives.

According to the American Safety Council, aggressive driving is believed to be a factor in 66 percent of fatal motor vehicle collisions. Authorities say that in a seven-year period, 218 people have been killed and 12,610 injured in road rage incidents.

In studies conducted by AAA, almost 80 percent of people admitted they had expressed serious anger behind the wheel at least once. According to NBC News, this type of driving aggression includes using obscene gestures, yelling at others, blaring the horn, cutting people off and tailgating.

Traffic offense vs. criminal behavior

Is there a difference between aggressive driving and road rage? According to law enforcement, one is a traffic offense and the other is a criminal act. Aggressive driving presents a danger to others on the road and can result in people being killed in accidents. However, road rage is a deliberate attempt by an angry driver to harm someone else. A person who is engaging in road rage may use his or her vehicle to ram another's or run it off the road, or chase down the other person until he or she can get into a physical altercation. The person may also use a weapon, such as a wrench, baseball bat, knife or firearm to attack someone he or she is angry with.

De-escalating a conflict

Is there anything a driver can do to avoid being the victim in an aggressive incident? The following tips may be helpful:

· Drive courteously and obey traffic rules.

· Do not engage another driver who shows aggression.

· Try to avoid an aggressive driver and get away from him or her in a safe manner.

· If pursued, drive to a well-lit public place or a police station, but do not drive home.

· Use a cellphone to call 911.

It may not be possible to always avoid drivers who are acting out of impatience or anger. However, reacting appropriately and safely in these situations may help to de-escalate a conflict before it becomes serious. Those who are injured by the negligent or deliberate actions of others may wish to seek advice from an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney.

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