During a popular group ride, an aggressive, impatient driver hit and seriously injured two cyclists. The cyclists were in the left turn lane, appropriately preparing to turn left. The motorist reportedly gunned it and crossed a double-yellow line – putting herself in the path of oncoming traffic – to get around the cyclists.

It didn’t work. Instead, she “T-Boned” both cyclists as they turned left. One rider hit and flipped over the driver’s windshield while the other got the full impact of the vehicle. The cyclist that flipped walked away with minor injuries. The other cyclist hit the front end of the car. He ended up in the hospital requiring emergency surgery.

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Whether the driver was simply perturbed or in a hurry, her actions didn’t get her anywhere faster. Quite the contrary.

Why do motorists take their lives in their hands to avoid cyclists, pedestrians, or slower drivers? Will breaking traffic laws get you to your destination any faster? You may save 30 seconds, but you’ll also risk an expensive traffic ticket, accident or lawsuit.

Aggressive driving includes the following behaviors:

1. Speeding

2. Honking

3. Tailgating

4. Running red lights

5. Not stopping at stop signs

6. Passing illegally

7. Failing to yield the right of way

8. Erratic and unsafe lane changes

9. Ignoring signals from other drivers

Anger is at the core of most aggressive driving. Long work commutes, Bay Bridge gridlock and actions of other drivers all lead to aggressive driving. Yelling and giving the middle finger can also up the odds of aggressive driving behavior.

Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Aggressive driving isn’t the same as road rage, but they are closely intertwined. Road rage is an intentional physical assault against another driver. It may involve using a firearm or the vehicle as a weapon.

For example, tailgating is considered aggressive driving. Getting out of the car at a red light and bashing in another driver’s windshield would be an act of road rage.

Pedestrian/cyclist issues, mistakes caused by distracted driving and even failing to use a turn signal can all trigger aggressive driving or road rage from another driver.

It’s incredibly frustrating when the vehicle in front of you doesn’t go when the light turns green. But before you lay on the horn, consider the cost. Do you want to trigger road rage? That minute of frustration isn’t worth it.

The driver who hit those two cyclists created a much bigger problem by driving recklessly and aggressively. Had she paused and taken a breath, she may have avoided what will likely be a substantial lawsuit due to injuring two people legally using the road.

Were you involved in an accident caused by an aggressive driver? Call our office for a free consultation.

Photo courtesy of Flickr