Back in 2009, a marketing and consulting group commissioned a study on aggressive driving across the country. New York City took the top spot for reasons that the state would never acknowledge with pride: New Yorkers were more likely to lean on their horns, make obscene gestures, and wave their fists.

Since then, the problem appears to have grown bigger. Every year New York observes “Speed Week,” which is a crackdown on speeding and aggressive driving throughout the state. In 2016 an Albany man wrote to the TimesUnion asking whether New York State had anything similar to the Call #77 Aggressive Driver Reporting System used in New Jersey.

Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Running red lights
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Changing lanes suddenly to pass a slower-moving vehicle
  • Swearing at other drivers
  • Tailgating to get another driver to go faster
  • Failure to yield to drivers who have the right-of-way
  • Using obscene gestures like the middle finger

What causes aggressive driving?

Research has uncovered many reasons why a driver will behave aggressively. They include (but are not limited to):

  • Being under such a high level of stress that they overreact to minor incidents such as being cut-off
  • Being in an extreme hurry to get somewhere
  • Alcohol consumption

One study carried out by the NHTSA and American Psychology Association found that drivers were much more likely to be aggressive when their identity was masked, such as driving a car with tinted windows or driving at night.

How to avoid aggressive driving

Recognizing that you may be an aggressive driver is an important part of changing the behavior. Depending on the reasons for your impatience with other drivers, you may want to:

  • Give yourself plenty of travel time when you need to get somewhere
  • Research alternate travel routes you can use when traffic levels are high
  • Avoid drinking and driving under any circumstances
  • Bring plenty of extra toys and games to keep young children occupied and prepare for rest stops during long road trips
  • Avoid driving when upset- schedule travel for another time or at least give yourself time to calm down sufficiently before you get behind the wheel
  • Listen to an audiobook or soothing music when you happen to be stuck in traffic
  • Accept that there will be times when you can’t avoid being late

No matter why you are stressed or irritated on the road, it is never worth endangering your life or that of someone else.

If you are injured by the actions of an aggressive driver while traveling this summer, then contact a New York personal injury attorney. When someone else decides to disregard common road safety rules, they can be ordered to compensate you when you are hurt as a result. Jayson Lutzky is a car accident and personal injury attorney with an office in the Bronx. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, then you may be entitled to a large cash settlement to compensate you for lost wages, pain and suffering and medical bills. Mr. Lutzky offers free in-person initial consultations and can be reached at 718-514-6619. Home and hospital visits may be available in the case of serious injury.