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Aggressive Driving vs Road Rage: What’s the Difference?

Speeding causes 1 in 3 traffic-related fatalities each year. More than 11,000 people died in wrecks caused by speeding in 2020 alone.

Speeding is a form of aggressive driving. And while we might use aggressive driving and road rage interchangeably, they are two distinct things. Road rage is a crime, whereas you can only receive a ticket for aggressive driving.

Are you curious about the difference between aggressive driving and road rage? Then keep reading because this one is for you.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving occurs when drivers commit multiple traffic violations. These violations put other drivers or pedestrians in danger. While a driver can get a traffic ticket for aggressive driving, it is not a criminal offense.

The exact aggressive driving definition varies by state. But the traffic violations that typically fall under the definition are:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Sudden lane changes, especially without a signal
  • Frequent lane changes
  • Failing to yield the right of way to another driver
  • Lane blocking
  • Failing to stop at a red light
  • Brake checking other drivers
  • Driving with your high beam lights on when other drivers are passing
  • Making obscene hand signs

Honking at another driver in a non-emergency situation can also qualify as aggressive driving in some cases.

Aggressive driving can earn you a speeding ticket. The more speeding tickets you get, the higher the chances of having your license revoked or suspended.

Another consequence of aggressive driving is escalation. Aggressive driving situations often escalate to road rage.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is a criminal offense in the US. That means you can get a ticket or even go to jail for committing a road rage offense.

The definition of road rage, again, varies by state. But most states define it as “willful” or “wanton” neglect of the safety of other drivers. “Willful” basically means deliberate, while “wanton” means something like deliberately cruel.

It is important to understand that road rage includes actual violent events. We often use the term “road rage,” but we usually mean something closer to aggressive driving. Road rage is far more serious.

For example, purposefully hitting a car because you are angry at the other driver is an instance of road rage. In extreme road rage cases, some drivers use weapons to commit violent acts.

It is important to avoid interacting with other drivers who are exhibiting signs of road rage. These drivers can lose control very quickly. And road rage incidents often lead to devastating fatalities.

Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage

The difference between aggressive driving and road rage is an important one. Why? First of all, knowing the definitions of each can be the difference between getting a simple traffic ticket and being charged with a more serious crime.

Secondly, getting into an accident with an aggressive driver vs. a driver with road rage will change the type of law the accident falls under.

Road rage incidents typically fall under criminal law. Meanwhile, aggressive driving wrecks fall under traffic laws. Either way, getting injured in an aggressive driving or road rage accident may entitle you to compensation.

Finally, aggressive driving and road rage have different consequences. Aggressive driving usually results in car accidents. The National Safety Council estimates that as much as 56% of wrecks happen due to aggressive driving.

Road rage also leads to accidents. But these drivers more commonly cause injuries and even fatalities. According to Safe Motorist, road rage caused 218 deaths and nearly 13,000 injuries from 2012 to 2019.

How to Prevent Aggressive Drivers from Escalating to Road Rage

37% of aggressive drivers carry a firearm in their vehicles. For that reason, these incidents can sometimes result in death. It is critical to adjust your own behavior to avoid escalating aggressive drivers you may encounter on the road.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Never retaliate
  • Avoid making eye contact
  • Get plenty of sleep before taking long drives
  • Pull over and take deep breaths before getting back on the road
  • Let the other driver pass
  • Call the police if necessary

The most important thing to do in these situations is to get yourself and your loved ones to safety. That way, you can avoid the sometimes deathly consequences of these incidents.

What to Do If You Get Into a Wreck With an Aggressive Driver

If you get injured or have a loved one who died in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation.

However, the injury or fatality must have occurred due to the other driver’s negligence. Aggressive driving and road rage are types of negligence.

So, the first thing to do after an accident with an aggressive or otherwise reckless driver is to call an attorney. A lawyer can advise you on what to do and what not to do when speaking to insurance companies.

And if insurance does not cover your personal and property losses, your attorney can help you file a lawsuit against the other driver.

Need an Auto Accident Lawyer in Florida?

There is no place for aggressive driving or road rage on the road. These sometimes violent driving behaviors can endanger you and other drivers on the road.

If you or someone you love gets injured in an accident because of someone else’s road rage or aggressive driving, call a personal injury lawyer ASAP. An attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve for your suffering.

Are you searching for a personal injury attorney in Florida? We represent victims like you. Schedule a free consultation with RHINO Lawyers today to find out how much your injuries may be worth.


In short, after a car accident, you may not know your rights. Above all, don’t struggle through the process alone. Actually, our personal injury team is here to help you with any legal needs you might have regarding your accident.

Lastly, let RHINO Lawyers answer your questions and review the facts of your case with a Free Consultation. So, get started by completing the “Free Instant Case Evaluation” or by calling us any time, day or night, at 844.RHINO.77.