Aggressive driving causes thousands of crashes on Maryland roads every year, resulting in property damage, injuries, and fatalities. All of these crashes are preventable. That’s why we participate in the ADAPT initiative.
ADAPT stands for Aggressive Drivers are Public Threats. This program combines education and law enforcement initiatives to curb these behaviors. This month, Maryland police are increasing their presence to catch aggressive drivers before they cause a crash.
Examine Your Driving Behaviors
Want to be part of the solution? The first step is to review your own driving behaviors. Common aggressive driving behaviors include:
- Failing to yield.
- Passing on the right.
- Ignoring traffic signals.
- Tailgating other vehicles.
- Unnecessary lane changes.
- Making sudden stops, starts, or turns.
- Overtaking other drivers in a retaliatory way.
Make no mistake. These behaviors aren’t a sign of skillful driving, nor do they make you look cool. They’re signs of recklessness.
Know the Risks
Each of the above behaviors put you, your passengers, and other drivers in danger. This is in part because unpredictable behaviors lead to crashes. Think about it:
- Other drivers reasonably expect you to follow laws. This includes heeding traffic signals and yielding when they have the right of way. When you don’t, it forces them to react to try to avoid you.
- You are reducing other drivers’ reaction times. Even if they’re not distracted, they may not see you in time to change their course safely when you behave unpredictably.
- You can cause a crash without being in one. Let’s say that car you cut off managed to avoid hitting you. In doing so, they may have veered away and hit someone else’s vehicle or driven off the road. In this case, you are still at fault.
There may also be risks that you’re unaware of. City planners and safety engineers work together to consider the big picture. From stop signs to speed limits, all safety signals on our roads are there for a reason.
Understand the Consequences
Maryland has strong aggressive driving laws in place, violations of which will result in stiff penalties.
More importantly, aggressive driving puts you and others in danger. Understand that you are risking far more than your bank account, your driving record, and your insurance rates. You are risking lives. Again, even if you manage to avoid a crash, you may cause another driver to lose control of their vehicle, causing damages, injuries or death.
Always Drive Defensively
One of the best things you can do is be a defensive driver every time you get behind the wheel. Anticipate any issues with weather, traffic, or the route you plan to drive so you can approach it safely and calmly. Follow all traffic rules and always yield to other drivers when appropriate. Just as aggressive driving can be contagious, so can courteous driving. Be generous, share the road, and set a positive example.
Spread the Word
Want to help us raise awareness and stop aggressive driving? Please share this blog post with your friends and family on social media. Also, check out our ADAPT campaign materials, which are ideal for sharing at your school, workplace, or other shared spaces in your community.