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Aggressive Driving – What Does That Mean?

Posted on May 30, 2023 in

At some point, most people will encounter an aggressive driver on the highway. These behaviors make everyone unsafe and can lead to tense encounters. Unfortunately, these actions have escalated over the years. If you become the victim of an accident involving an aggressive driver, speaking with a Connecticut personal injury attorney can help you successfully navigate the legal system so that you are not victimized a second time.

Aggressive driving is defined by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a series of moving traffic infractions committed by a driver that can cause harm to another individual or property. Intentionally focusing on ways to curve the chances of participating in or being on the receiving end of aggressive driving is imperative for road safety. Defensive driving does not suggest aggressive driving but the ability to respond proactively to inappropriate driving behaviors. 

Reasons for Aggressive Driving

There are common themes that run through aggressive driving altercations. Aggressive driving can take the form of erratic lane changes, passing on road shoulders and incorrect lanes, improper turns, and tailgating, which carries a fine in Connecticut. Why do drivers feel the need to drive aggressively?


Acts of aggressive driving often occur when a driver is running late. When someone feels other drivers are not as responsive and aware, the driver running short on time begins to display aggressive behavior, trying to bypass other drivers. A few extra minutes added to a commute time to account for traffic can make a difference.


When a driver and their passenger engage in a conflict while traveling or before starting a commute, the driver will often demonstrate their anger by driving erratically, partly as a source of intimidation to their passenger and also to displace that stress onto uninvolved individuals also commuting on the highways.

Additionally, some people maintain a high level of stress throughout their lives. Aggressive driving becomes a means of releasing that penned-up emotion. An automobile weighing thousands of pounds can be perceived as armor.


A study by American Automobile Association (AAA) found that drivers in the Northeast were far more likely to gesture angrily, honk, or yell aggressively at other drivers. Angry gestures were committed by Northeastern drivers 30% more often than by drivers in other parts of the country. 

Dealing With Aggressive Drivers

Being on the receiving end of aggressive driving can be highly uncomfortable and often dangerous, not only to you but any passengers in the vehicle, other cars on the road, and pedestrians. There are actions you can take to help minimize these situations and de-escalate the potential of becoming a road rage incident.

  • Never retaliate and take matters into your own hands. Reach out to law enforcement if you feel threatened by another driver.
  • Do not acknowledge the aggressive behavior. It is best to avoid eye contact and move out of the way as quickly as possible to let the situation pass. 
  • Be a courteous driver. Using turn signals, driving in the appropriate lane, and being aware of other drivers around you can minimize the aggression of others.
  • Remember that you have more control than you think. Often, aggressive driving encounters blow over quickly when you simply do not engage by matching speed, honking the horn, or displaying the same aggressive behavior.

Representation Matters

If you should become the victim of an accident caused by aggressive driving in Connecticut, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney from Connolly Brennan Ralabate to begin the case evaluation process to ensure maximum compensation for your injuries.