Aggressive Driving: Part of Virginia Car Culture or a Serious Traffic Violation?

You are driving at the speed of traffic on the Beltway. A fast moving car comes up behind you. The driver honks impatiently and then moves into your lane without signaling. You watch him weave in and out of traffic until he disappears.

Drivers in Virginia are stressed and tired. We spend too much time sitting in traffic. Perhaps that’s why Virginia has more than our share of aggressive drivers. These are drivers who are so intent on reaching their destination that safety is no longer a concern. Unfortunately, these drivers aren’t just risking their own lives. They risk the lives of everyone on the road.

Five minutes after you see the aggressive driver, traffic slows down. There has been an accident. The speeding car has hit another vehicle. Multiple ambulances fight their way through the congestion to reach the scene.

In the Commonwealth, aggressive driving is covered under Section 46.2-868.1 of the Code of Virginia. A person is considered an aggressive driver if he endangers another person with any of the following behaviors or engages in these behaviors with the intent of harassing, intimidating, injuring, or obstructing another person.

Reckless Driving Behaviors in Virginia
  • Driving on the wrong side of the highway
  • Failing to watch for traffic
  • Following too closely
  • Failing to stop or yield right-of-way when entering a highway
  • Ignoring red lights, stop signs and other traffic devices
  • Driving outside of marked lanes
  • Incorrect passing or passing on the wrong side
  • Refusing to allow another vehicle to pass
  • Speeding
  • Stopping on the highway

Aggressive driving is usually considered a Class 2 misdemeanor. However, an aggressive driver can be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor if he acted with the intent of injuring another person.

You can’t always avoid aggressive drivers in Virginia, but you can take steps to prevent aggressive driving crashes.

Prevent Virginia Aggressive Driving Accidents
  • Don’t rush. DC area traffic is unpredictable. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Listen to the radio to learn about potential delays due to accidents and weather conditions.
  • When possible, avoid commute hours.
  • Don’t drive when you are angry.
  • Make your drive as pleasant as possible. Keep your car clean and comfortable and listen to soothing music.
  • Do not tailgate.
  • Avoid using your horn. Save it for real emergencies.
  • Never block the passing lane.
  • Don’t change lanes immediately after passing. Wait until you can see the vehicle you passed in your rear-view mirror.
  • Always use your signals when turning or changing lanes.

If you are injured in a Virginia aggressive driving accident, the driver that caused the crash can be held responsible for your injuries. The attorneys at Lewis and Tompkins are happy to discuss your legal options at no charge. Call 202-296-0666 to schedule a free consultation.

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