How Does Maryland Define an Aggressive Driver?

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If you were injured as a result of an aggressive driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation. To learn more, reach out to our firm today to speak with a skilled Prince George’s County auto accident lawyer. Our legal team is on your side no matter what you are facing.

What is an aggressive driver?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that aggressive driving is defined as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Changing lanes erratically or in an unsafe manner
  • Driving above the speed limit
  • Passing in zones where passing is prohibited
  • Tailgating other drivers
  • Failing to obey traffic signals, such as stop and yield signs
  • Failing to signal when switching lanes
  • Running through red light signals
  • Driving recklessly or negligently
  • Ignoring other drivers
  • Failing to yield to drivers that have the right of way
  • Driving illegally on the shoulder or sidewalk
  • Cutting in front of or chasing other vehicles
  • Flashing headlights at other drivers
  • Excessive honking, yelling, or gesturing
  • Chasing or racing

Aggressive or reckless driving is specified under a very obscure statute. Charging a person for driving recklessly is left to the choice of the police officer. An officer must see witness an individual operating the vehicle in a reckless way to charge, and an aggressive driver may face a charge of reckless driving without causing an accident or even interacting with other drivers. For instance, a person caught driving 40 miles over the posted speed limit may face a criminal charge of reckless driving in addition to other civil traffic violations.

What is the difference between aggressive driving and road rage?

Aggressive driving and road rage are often used interchangeably. However, they are not one and the same. Similar to reckless driving, road rage has characteristics of driving aggressively, but it is often much worse. Shouting, honking the horn, making threats, and gesturing at other drivers are all examples of road rage and aggressive driving. However, road rage usually takes it a step further when the driver breaks a criminal law.

Instances of road rage include the following:

  • Attempting to block another vehicle from using a traffic lane
  • Chasing another vehicle
  • Attempting to run another vehicle off the road
  • Intentionally slamming into another vehicle

In the event that a driver stops his or her vehicle at a traffic light or on the side of the road and steps out to threaten, attack or injure another driver, that driver has passed from aggressive driving into reckless driving and road rage. The same rules apply if the driver attacks a passenger, bicyclist, pedestrian, or anyone nearby. Reach out to our firm today to learn more.

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If you suffered an injury or loss because of another person’s negligence, contact McCarthy, Winkelman, Mester & Offutt, L.L.P. today.


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