We’ve all encountered rude and angry drivers. And if we’re honest, most of us can admit to getting irritated behind the wheel before. But if those feelings affect our driving behavior, we become a danger to ourselves and others. Florida is one of the worst states for aggressive driving and road rage accidents in the nation.
What is Aggressive Driving in Florida?
Aggressive driving is a recognized issue in Florida — so serious that the state Department of Transportation (FDOT) Strategic Plan lists it as one of the most important problems to address to reduce traffic accidents. FDOT statistics show there were 2,020 deaths and 6,611 serious injuries due to speeding and aggressive driving over a recent five-year period.
Florida law defines aggressive driving as engaging in two or more of the following actions, either at the same time or in succession:
- Unsafe or improper lane changes
- Following too closely
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Improper passing
- Ignoring traffic controls and signals
More generally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) refers to aggressive driving as operating a motor vehicle “in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”
Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage
People often think of aggressive driving and road rage as the same thing. However, there are some key differences.
First, aggressive driving is a violation of state traffic laws. There is no legal definition of road rage in Florida.
In addition, road rage accidents occur when a driver has the intent to hurt another motorist.
Aggressive driving is a negligent traffic violation, but the person committing the offense may be careless rather than aiming to harm someone else.
That said, many of the same aggressive driving behaviors are seen in people with road rage, such as speeding, weaving in between lanes, and sudden braking. But with road rage, you can also expect to see more inflammatory actions, such as:
- Leering or staring
- Throwing objects out of the car
- Flashing lights
- Bumping or forcing another vehicle off the road
Road Rage Statistics
Road rage and aggressive behavior are widespread. Consider these road rage statistics compiled from AAA, NHTSA, and other reports:
- 78 percent of drivers reported engaging in aggressive driving behaviors in a recent survey.
- Around 80 percent of respondents admitted to feeling road rage within the past month.
- Over a seven-year period, road rage contributed to 218 murders and 12,610 injuries.
- On average, road rage results in around 30 deaths and 1,800 injuries per year.
- Federal data found a 500 percent increase in aggressive driving deaths in a single recent decade.
- Running late and traffic congestion are the most frequent excuses for road rage.
The report also listed a terrifying statistic for Sunshine State drivers: Florida is No. 1 in the nation for road rage incidents involving firearms. Tampa and Miami were the most dangerous cities.
Preventing a Road Rage Accident in Florida
You cannot control the actions of other drivers, but you can do your best to avoid being involved in a road rage accident. Here are some tips:
- Obey traffic laws: Drivers report some of the most annoying behaviors include driving slowly in the left lane, cutting others off, and tailgating.
- Don’t engage: If you encounter an aggressive driver, don’t try to counter their moves or respond angrily. You never know who you are dealing with.
- Mind your manners: Keep your emotions in check. No matter how tempting, don’t gesture, yell, honk, or give in to your feelings of road rage.
Get Help from a Car Accident Lawyer in Florida
If you or someone you love was seriously hurt in a road rage accident, you could be entitled to compensation beyond your no-fault benefits in Florida. Talk to a car accident lawyer at Brooks Law Group today. We’ll help you pursue the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in August 2021.