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Aggressive Driving in the Trucking Industry

Nearly everyone who has been driving for more than a day has experienced aggressive driving in one form or another. Unfortunately, this behavior won't be going away any time soon. If a truck driver engages in aggressive driving or is victimized by an aggressive driver, the safety of everyone on the road is compromised.


An aggressive driver, whether they are driving a commercial vehicle or not, being present on the road tremendously increases the risks of accidents. Especially if they are driving a commercial vehicle or if there is a commercial vehicle in their general vicinity because accidents involving large trucks are much more deadly.

Truck driver throwing hands up in the air

What is Aggressive Driving?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “dangerous on-the-road behaviors.” Some of these dangerous behaviors are following to close, high speeds, not stopping at stop lights or stop signs, brake checking, weaving through traffic, and other acts.


While aggressive driving behaviors are done by commercial vehicle drivers, it is often smaller passenger vehicles driving aggressively around CMVs. Unfortunately, aggressive driving behaviors occur frequently, at all times throughout the day, on all roadways. Many, if not most, vehicular accidents occur because of actions of the driver and aggressive behavior nearly doubles the chances of an accident to occur.


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Enrolling drivers in Defensive Driving Principles for the Commercial Driver will teach them to identify hazards on the road before they have even happened, to include aggressive drivers. Use code FRCS10 for $10 off the purchase of the class!


What Is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?

Believe it or not, there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage. The NHTSA says the difference between aggressive driving and road rage is the element of intent. Whether that intent is to harm or not depends on the severity of the road rage.


Most of the time road rage is an emotional reaction to the actions of others on the road, often times when the driver is experiencing outside stressors that have nothing to do with the person their aggression is being directed towards. Road rage ranges from angry gestures to the other driver to murder. Where aggressive driving is a careless behavior, often times not even done purposely. Aggressive driving is a spectrum, with road rage being the extreme end of that spectrum.


Root Causes of Aggressive Driving

The other driver on the road isn't always the root cause of the aggressive driving behavior, outside stress often plays a key role. Outside stress could be problems in the driver's personal life, heated phone calls while driving, or being late for work. Some on the road causes of aggressive driving are traffic, longer commute times, or even actions of another aggressive driver. There are also times where the aggressive driver just has complete disregard for the other vehicles on the road.


The best course of action is to drive safely and in respect of everyone else on the road. When driving through high-traffic areas, plan ahead and leave early to avoid the congestion and allow yourself enough time to make it to your destination on time. If you are running behind, don't put yourself and others at risk to try and get their on time.


In the trucking industry, safety should always be the number one priority. In fact, every training that truck drivers go through preaches and promotes safety in all aspects of the job.


Aggressive driving is dangerous, and any form of it is strongly discouraged for all drivers and especially commercial vehicle drivers. In several states aggressive driving is a ticketable offense, others will characterize it as careless or even reckless driving, and this will be cited as a Violation against 49 CFR 392.2. Be aware of the root causes of aggressive driving and seek to avoid such behaviors. Always be aware of the other drivers on the road and anticipate their actions. Safety is the number one priority!



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Make sure to check out our online DOT Training platform, DOT University! We currently are offering Reasonable Suspicion for Supervisors, Cargo Securement, Defensive Driving, and Pre/Post Trip Inspection. In the coming months, we plan on releasing DOT Compliance Essentials and Periodic Annual Inspection Qualification Training (Appendix A).


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