We all know how the stop and start traffic on New York streets can push one’s patience to the brink. And while most of us are able to keep our emotions in check, there are motorists whose anger will get the better of them. A driver who has lost control of his or her temper can quickly become a threat to other road users.

An aggressive driver is one who operates a motor vehicle without regard for safety or with ill intent. And according to an AAA Foundation study, aggressive driving may play a role in over half of all fatal crashes. Aggressive driving maneuvers include speeding, tailgating, illegal passing and making erratic lane changes.

Encountering an aggressive driver can be an extremely frightening experience. However, there are some things you can do to lessen the likelihood of being involved in a serious incident with an aggressive driver. First, you do not want to engage the driver in any way. This means doing your level best to contain your anger when an aggressive driver cuts you off, tailgates you or is menacing in some other manner.

Rather than retaliating, give the aggressive driver as much room as possible. Simply put, just get out of his or her way. Also, avoid making eye contact or making gestures toward the driver. Such acts could be interpreted as challenges and may escalate the situation dramatically. And if the aggressive driver is persistent to the point that you fear for your safety, call 911 and report what is happening. You do not want to get out of your car or go home if an aggressive driver is following you, but rather get to a well-populated area where there are plenty of witnesses.

If you have been in a collision caused by the reckless behavior of an aggressive driver, you may wish to consult with a New York car accident attorney. Not only can the attorney work with insurance companies in an effort to maximize your compensation, he or she can also be your advocate if you choose to file a civil suit against the negligent driver.