The reckless driver of a black Acura weaved in and out of traffic causing a tractor-trailer to jackknife and then turn over spilling hazardous material. The accident happened on northbound I-75 just south of B. Downs Boulevard around noon on Thursday, February 21, 2019.
Police say that the 27-year-old female driver of the Acura approached the semi in the far-right lane at a high rate of speed, then swerved into the far-left lane and then veered back across all four lanes and struck the tractor-trailer in the front wheel causing it to turn over. Another motorist caught the incident on his dashcam.
Police arrested the driver of the Acura and charged them with reckless driving. Then they called a hazmat team to clean up the contents of the trailer. Authorities say that the accident injured two people, but it’s unknown which car they were in or who they were.
Aggressive Driving Crashes
Aggressive driving is one of those things that is difficult to define but you know it when you see it. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.”
Basically it’s driving fast in and out of traffic, cutting people off and sometimes throwing a few hand gestures out when people honk or react. There are no direct statistics on aggressive driving. However, the NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Report states that some of the contributing factors found in aggressive driving were factors in 56 percent of all fatal crashes from 2003 to 2007. Some of those factors are:
- Excessive Speed
- Following improperly
- Improper or erratic lane changing
- Illegal driving on road shoulder, in a ditch, or on sidewalk or median
- Passing where prohibited
- Operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds
- Not yielding right of way
- Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws
- Failure to observe warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them
- Failing to signal
This might seem a bit misleading because many of these factors that were present in a fatality did not definitively show that “aggressive driving” was involved. However, the NHTSA does attribute a high rate of speed as a factor in 26 percent of all fatalities and it is a central component to aggressive driving.
How to Protect Yourself from Aggressive Driving Accidents
The state of Utah’s Zero Tolerance Initiative has focused on aggressive driving as a significant cause of injuries and fatalities. They make recommendations to drivers who encounter aggressive driving:
- Wear your seat belt. If your encounter with an aggressive driver results in a crash, your seat belt will significantly reduce your chances of being injured or killed.
- Don’t play their game. Back off and let them go on their way. Remember, it’s not a competition and it’s not your job to teach them a lesson.
- Ignore honking and rude gestures. Don’t respond and don’t make eye contact. It will only escalate the hostile feelings.
- If you can do so safely, contact police with the vehicle description, license number, the location and direction of travel.
The initiative also addresses the aggressive drivers in an effort to make drivers aware of the danger they put themselves and others in when they drive aggressively:
- Plan ahead to avoid the worst congestion and allow yourself plenty of time to travel.
- Take a deep breath, chat with a companion, listen to music. Getting stressed and upset will not get you there any faster and it might shorten your life.
- Don’t drive when you are feeling angry, upset or fatigued.
- Driving should not be a race. Leave your competitive instincts at home or save them for the field.
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Courteous driving encourages other drivers to be courteous. Aggressive driving influences others to drive aggressively.
What if I’m Injured by an Aggressive Driver?
If you find yourself a victim of an aggressive driver, first do not engage with the driver if they are still at the scene. Many times, these incidences lead to violent road rage behavior. Stay in your car and call the authorities.
Then the next thing to do—if you can safely–get information of the vehicle by memorizing the plate or taking a picture. Be careful not to engage with aggressive drive while doing so. Then focus on your injuries and medical treatment, this is more important in the short term.
There is a good chance someone from the insurance company for the driver will try to talk to you about the incident. Don’t speak to them before you talk to an attorney. Even if you don’t hire one to help you with your claim, most law firms have a free consultation where you can get advice and an evaluation of your case.
If you talk to the insurance agent unprotected, they might take something you said and try to make the incident your fault. If you do decide to have representation, then get an attorney who can stand up to the insurance companies and their lawyers and fight for you.
Contact a Tampa Auto Accident Lawyer
After any crash, contact an attorney if there is a serious injury or loss of a loved one. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head-on!”
Anyone injured due to the negligence of another driver in Florida should us for a free consultation. Our personal injury team will offer you advice to help you get the compensation you deserve.