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Aggressive driving

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Aggressive driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as the behaviour of an individual who "commits a combination of moving traffic offences so as to endanger other persons or property."[1]


In the UK, Road Drivers offers a basic definition of aggressive driving:

Aggressive driving: The use of a motor vehicle in a deliberate and aggressive manner that is likely to endanger life by increasing the risk of a collision". This behaviour is usually motivated by impatience, annoyance, hostility or an attempt to save time.

— Road Drivers[2]

There are other alternative definitions:

Aggressive driving behavior takes many forms. Typical aggressive driving behaviors include speeding, driving too close to the car in front, not respecting traffic regulations, improper lane changing or weaving, etc. The list is long. Most people drive aggressively from time to time and many drivers are not even aware when they are doing it.

Aggressive driving is difficult to define because of its many different manifestations but having a clear definition is important for police and legal action against it to succeed. A Global Web Conference on Aggressive Driving Issues organized in Canada in October 2000 offered the following definition “A driving behavior is aggressive if it is deliberate, likely to increase the risk of collision and is motivated by impatience, annoyance, hostility and/or an attempt to save time.

— Aggressive driving behavior (background paper) Fourth Road Safety Week (5 - 11 April 2004)[3]

Behaviours associated[edit]

By definition, aggressive driving is 'committing unprovoked attacks on other drivers', attacks such as not yielding to vehicles wishing to pass. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has implemented the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, [4] which identifies actions that would fall under the category of aggressive driving, including:

  • Following improperly / tailgating.[4]
  • Improper or erratic lane changing [4]
  • Illegal driving on a road shoulder, in a ditch, or on a sidewalk or median.[4]
  • Passing where prohibited.[4]
  • Operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds without changing lanes.[4]
  • Failure to yield right of way.[4]
  • Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws.[4]
  • Failure to observe warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them.[4]
  • Failure to signal.[4]
  • Driving too fast for conditions. [4]
  • Racing.[4]
  • Making an improper turn.[4]
  • Close following and sudden braking. [5]


According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, aggressive driving played a role in 56% of fatal crashes between 2003 and 2007, most of which were attributed to excessive speed.[4] Aggressive driving also negatively impacts the environment as it burns 37% more fuel and produces more toxic fumes.[6]

Aggressive driving (abrupt acceleration and frequent slamming on of the brakes) also emits more carbon than a calmer approach. Calm driving would save nearly half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 in China alone.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Aggressive Driving | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)". www.nhtsa.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  2. ^ "RoadDriver - What is Aggressive Driving?".
  3. ^ "Aggressive driving behaviour (Background paper) | UNECE".
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) | National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)". www.nhtsa.gov. Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  5. ^ a b doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-02341-x
  6. ^ Suzuki, David (2008). David Suzuki's Green Guide. Greystone Books. pp. 87. ISBN 978-1-55365-293-9.

External links[edit]