One of the greatest hazards on Chicago’s roads is aggressive drivers. Although Illinois currently has no formal aggressive driving laws in place, many of the behaviors that would be covered under that provision are still prohibited because of their increased potential for accidents. A car accident attorney in Chicago may see many aggressive driving accident victims in just a single year.
When motorists are aggressive, they can cause accidents in just a few short moments. The aggression may also escalate following a crash and result in additional dangerous situations between drivers. A Marion, Ohio, mother was recently killed when her husband and another driver engaged in an aggressive back-and-forth. According to The Marion Star, law enforcement officers determined that the drivers of two vehicles were reportedly driving aggressively, swerving in and out of traffic, and yelling at each other.
Eventually the two vehicles collided near a bridge, causing the woman’s car to flip. The 43-year-old mother, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her husband and the other male driver were both charged with aggravated vehicular homicide.
Not all examples of aggressive driving are so extreme, but they do play an equally significant role in contributing to car collisions. Consider the following five aggressive driving behaviors that all motorists should avoid to stay safe on the road.
Speeding is one of the most dangerous aggressive driving practices in which motorists can engage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is responsible for around 30 percent of car collision fatalities every year nationally. In Illinois, that number is consistently closer to 48 percent.
While it may seem harmless to speed a few mph over the legal limit, motorists should understand that those limits are not set arbitrarily. The road type, average weather conditions and location are all factors that influence a speed limit for a certain area. If motorists are speeding, they may be unable to safely operate their vehicles in many normal situations. Drivers who are speeding are also more likely to fail to stop in time to avoid a collision.
Speeding and tailgating often go hand in hand. According to DC.gov, tailgating occurs when motorists are too impatient to follow other vehicles at a safe distance. Instead, they leave very little room between the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of them and the front fender of their own car.
Motorists may be called upon at any moment to stop their vehicles. If this stop is abrupt and a car is tailgating, the driver may not even have time to step on the brake before he or she collides with the rear of the preceding car. The practice may also induce road rage in other drivers, which can escalate quickly to become a deadly situation.
Like most car accidents, those caused by tailgating can result in serious injuries and death. Severe rear-end collisions associated with tailgating can result in broken bones, whiplash, head injuries and other long-lasting medical conditions.
- Weaving through traffic
Lane changes are necessary in most daily driving, but by their very nature are a risk-filled practice. This is because drivers are more likely to be involved in a collision when changing lanes. Improperly placed mirrors and blind spots make it easy to miss drivers who are occupying other lanes. Accidents often occur when motorists are driving reasonably and safely. They are almost guaranteed to occur when drivers begin making unsafe lane changes by recklessly weaving through traffic.
- Being rude
Rude gestures, actions and obscenities are never appropriate while operating a motor vehicle. Moreover, they are likely to result in road rage incidents that can leave motorists beaten, stabbed or shot. Motorists should always understand that they do not know the temperament or potential reaction another driver might have in such a situation. A car accident attorney in Chicago knows that a single rude remark or gesture has led to many escalated situations and accidents which never had to occur.
- Improper passing
Improper passing is something that many drivers do not understand, but which could be considered an aggressive behavior. Also known as passing on the right, improper passing usually occurs on the nation’s highways. In a three lane highway, the designation is as follows:
- Right lane –Those who wish to go at or below the posted speed limit should occupy this lane.
- Middle lane – Motorists who are comfortable going at or slightly above the speed limit generally use the middle lane. They may occasionally move to the left to speed up and pass.
- Left lane – The left lane is designated as the passing lane. Unless a motorist is passing, they should never be to the left.
When motorists pass on the right, they fail to enter the left lane to do the passing. This is potentially dangerous because drivers have greater visibility for lane changes on the left. Moreover, if a motorist sees that another vehicle is tailgating them, they may move to the right, or the slow lane, to allow the pass to occur. If the other vehicle were to also move into the right lane at the exact same time to illegally pass, an accident may occur.
All motorists should reduce their aggression levels prior to getting behind the wheel to ensure that they are not responsible for causing an accident. Unfortunately, many motorists fail to do this every day and cause deadly accidents as a result. Those who have been injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver should contact a car accident attorney in Chicago for assistance with their claims.