What is Considered Aggressive Driving in New York?

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According to the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee, New York’s aggressive driving definition is “any display of aggression by a driver.”

What Counts as a “Display of Aggression?”

Any of the following can be aggressive driving in New York:

  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes frequently or in an unsafe manner (e.g., failing to signal)
  • Ignoring traffic signals/failing to yield
  • Chasing other vehicles
  • Cutting in front of other vehicles
  • Honking, yelling, or gesturing
  • Flashing headlights
  • Distracted or impaired driving

Is Aggressive Driving Illegal?

Aggressive driving, by name, is not illegal under New York law. However, reckless driving, which encompasses many aggressive driving behaviors, is.

Reckless driving, which means using a motor vehicle in a way to “unreasonably interferes with the free and proper use of the public highway” or endangers other road users, is a misdemeanor under New York law.

Difference Between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

The New York State Police treat road rage as a much more serious matter than aggressive driving. Road rage is a criminal offense in New York. Road rage occurs when a driver uses a vehicle as a weapon or gets into a physical altercation with another driver.

Steps to Take if You See An Aggressive Driver

If you spot an aggressive driver — someone 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” — on the road:

  • Stay calm.
  • Stay as far away as possible. If you are next to the driver, slow down and let him/her pass you.
  • Do not engage or make eye contact with the driver. This could cause the situation to escalate to road rage.
  • Pull over — safely — and call 911 to report the driver.

What Do I Need to Prove if I Was Involved in an Accident With an Aggressive Driver?

If an aggressive driver caused your accident, s/he may be liable for your injuries. However, to recover any compensation you must be able to prove that the driver was behaving aggressively behind the wheel. This is because many aggressive driving behaviors are considered negligence under the law.

Proving aggressive driving is difficult in New York because officers cannot issue a ticket unless they see the driver behaving aggressively. Instead, you must rely on eyewitness testimony or surveillance video to prove the at-fault party was driving aggressively. If another road user reported the aggressive driver to the police, you may be able to use that as evidence.

If you have been injured in an accident that involved an aggressive driver, you may have a claim for your damages. The aggressive driving accident lawyers at Goldstein & Bashner will evaluate your claim. Give us a call to get started.

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