Governor's Traffic Safety Committee

Aggressive Driving

Introduction | Programs & Solutions | FAQs | Safety Tips
Related Sites & Sources | Vehicle & Traffic Law | Brochures & Publications


What is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving can refer to any display of aggression by a driver, tailgating, flashing headlights, speeding or weaving through traffic are just some forms of aggressive driving. Extreme acts of physical assault that result from disagreements between drivers are a form of aggression commonly called "Road Rage."

The New York State Police define an Aggressive Driver as one who:

Operates a motor vehicle in a selfish, bold or pushy manner, without regard for the rights or safety of the other users of the streets and highways.

Why is There Aggressive Driving?

Part of the problem may be the roads themselves. The roads are more crowded. Also, people are busier. Time is at a premium, and road congestion causes frustration.

According to the media, there are numerous events of aggressive driving or "road rage" on the public highways. There is growing concern among motorists about this problem. The American Automobile Association (AAA), Potomac Club commissioned a survey in early 1996 to determine what issues drivers were concerned about in the Washington, D.C. area. The largest group of drivers, 40%, felt the major traffic safety threat was the aggressive driver.

Programs & Solutions

Aggressive Driving Enforcement Programs

The New York State Police and local police agencies conduct traffic enforcement details in an effort to cut down on dangerous aggressive driving behaviors, in particular excessive speed and reckless driving, throughout the state. The GTSC's Police Traffic Services grant supports agencies that conduct enforcement and public information and education campaigns which specifically target the aggressive driving behaviors listed below.

As already noted in the Introduction, the NYS State Police have pointed out that there is a difference between aggressive driving and so called "road rage". "Road Rage", such as using the vehicle as a weapon or physically assaulting a driver or their vehicle, is NOT aggressive driving. These are criminal offenses, and there are laws in place to deal with these violent crimes.

If you encounter an aggressive driver...

The New York State Police recommend these basic tips for dealing with an aggressive driver:

Safety Tips

There are some basic things that you can do to reduce your chances of ever becoming involved in an aggressive driving or "road rage" incident:

The following tips, which expand on the above points, were compiled from several different sources. Although the list is quite extensive, these suggestions are worth heeding:

Be Aware of Actions Which Can Provoke Aggression

Motorists are advised to be patient and courteous to other drivers. You should correct any unsafe driving habits that may endanger, annoy or provoke other drivers. Be aware of the actions that have resulted in violence in the past. Many of these actions are simply eliminated by practicing common courtesy. Others are behaviors which are, or may be considered, offensive.

Avoid behaviors which are likely to provoke aggression:
Use common courtesy:
Reduce Your Stress

Learn to spot the warning signs of stress, and try to avoid situations which are likely to cause stress, distraction and fatigue.

In general:

If you are making a long trip:

Road congestion is a major contributing factor to traffic disputes:

Adjust Your Attitude
Keep Your Cool, Think Before You React

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety