Aggressive Driving

Traffic Safety Board
William Johnson, Administrator


Aggressive driving is the operation of a motor vehicle in an unsafe and hostile manner without regard for others.  Aggressive driving behavior may include: making frequent or unsafe lane changes, failing to signal or yield the right of way, tailgating and disregarding traffic controls. These are offenses under NYS Vehicle & Traffic Law.

What can you do to avoid driving aggressively?

  • Be aware of actions which can provoke aggression.

  • Reduce your stress.

  • Adjust your attitude.

  • Keep your cool.  Think before you react.

What should you do when confronted by an aggressive driver?

  • Stay calm and relaxed.

  • Make every attempt to get out of the way safely.  Don't escalate the situation.

  • Put your pride in the back seat.  Do not challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or attempting to hold your position in your travel lane.

  • Wear a seat belt and encourage your passengers to do the same.

  • Avoid eye contact.

  • Ignore harassing gestures and refrain from returning them.

  • Report aggressive drivers to appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, location, license plate number and direction of travel.

  • If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash, stop a safe distance from the crash scene.  When police arrive, report the driving behavior you witnessed.

Aggressive Driving Enforcement Programs

The NYS Police and local police agencies conduct traffic enforcement details in an effort to cut down on dangerous aggressive driving behaviors, in particular excessive speed and reckless driving, throughout the state. The Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee’s Police Traffic Services grant supports agencies that conduct enforcement and public information and education campaigns which specifically target the aggressive driving behaviors listed below.

  • Excessive Speed

  • Frequent or Unsafe Lane Changes

  • Failure to Signal

  • Tailgating

  • Failure to Yield the Right of Way

  • Disregarding Traffic Controls

  • Impaired Driving

  • Cell phone / electronic device use

Are you an Aggressive Driver?  Take the Quiz

Road Rage

Extreme acts of physical assault that result from disagreements between drivers are a form of aggression commonly called "Road Rage."  These disagreements usually start with either a real or a perceived offense. It could be something as serious as a near-collision, or it could be something as trivial as one car going too slowly to suit the driver of the car behind it. Either way, the offended driver becomes enraged and decides to teach the other driver a lesson. From there, road rage can progress to screaming and rude gestures, aggressive driving, an unnecessary car accident, or even assault and violence.  However the NYS State Police have pointed out that there is a difference between aggressive driving and so called "road rage". "Road Rage", such as using the vehicle as a weapon or physically assaulting a driver or their vehicle, is NOT aggressive driving. These are criminal offenses, and there are penal laws (assault, harassment, vehicular assault, reckless endangerment, etc.) in place to deal with these violent crimes.

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