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The Difference Between Aggressive and Reckless Driving in Indiana

Updated February 23, 2023 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

Reckless Driving versus Aggressive Driving: The Differences and Consequences of Both in Indiana

Reckless and aggressive driving are both dangerous to drivers, passengers, and others on the road. In the United States, reckless driving is a major traffic violation generally stemming from a person driving a vehicle with disregard to the safety of themselves or others. On the other hand, aggressive driving occurs when a driver commits several moving traffic violations in an effort to endanger others on the road.

Reckless Driving

According to Indiana state law, reckless driving is committed when a driver exhibits any of the following:

  • Driving at an unreasonably high or low rate of speed, endangering the safety of others
  • Passing other vehicles in no-pass zones or on slopes/curves where vision may be limited
  • Continual weaving in and out of traffic
  • Passing school buses when they are stopped with signals on

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is committed when a driver exhibits any of the following:

  • Following a vehicle too closely
  • Stopping or slowing in an unsafe manner
  • Failing to yield
  • Driving a vehicle off the roadway
  • Failing to obey traffic signals and signs
  • Flashing lights or honking horn repeatedly 

Legal Differences Between Reckless and Aggressive Driving

While both are dangerous, reckless driving and aggressive driving pose a different set of legal consequences. Reckless driving is typically operation of a vehicle with disregard to the safety of others or of property. Those who commit and are found guilty of reckless driving in Indiana may face a Class B misdemeanor, which could result in a fine of up to $1,000 and a jail sentence. Additional potential legal consequences of reckless driving may include a revoked driver’s license and possible lawsuit if parties involved are injured.

Under Indiana law, aggressive driving is a Class A misdemeanor which may result in up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. If aggressive driving occurs in a highway work zone, the responsible party could potentially be charged with a felony if a worker is injured by the driver. Causing injuries in a work zone may result in a Class D felony, while killing a worker by aggressive driving can result in a Class C felony. 

What is Road Rage?

Road rage is often shown by extreme anger behind the wheel. Road rage can take many forms but is not considered a crime or traffic violation unless it results in an accident or traffic violation. Different forms of road rage include:

  • Tailgating
  • Horn honking
  • Rude gestures
  • Yelling
  • Cutting off another vehicle intentionally
  • Blocking other vehicles for lane changes
  • Intentionally bumping or hitting another vehicle

These factors often lead to and contribute to road rage:

  • Traffic delays
  • Running late
  • Disregard for the law
  • Learned behavior (anger, road rage may have been learned from another driver)

There are many variations of what road rage looks like. To avoid it, it’s important to remember a few simple things before getting behind the wheel.

If you’re prone to showing road rage, remember to give others a break – if someone is driving slowly it is probably not done to irritate you, but rather related to their personal needs or preferences. It’s also important not to tailgate other vehicles. Tailgating often results in accidents, so it’s best to keep a safe distance from other vehicles. If another driver is showing signs of road rage, stay away from them if possible and don’t engage in their erratic behavior.

Steps to Take Following an Auto Accident

If you or a loved one have experienced an accident, there are steps you should take immediately following the accident to ensure safety:

  • Stay calm and get to safety (if unsafe in your vehicle)
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Call the police
  • Document the accident
  • Collect information from witnesses
  • Seek medical care
  • Inform insurance company of the accident
  • Contact the attorneys at WKW

Contact an Attorney Today

Auto accidents are scary and can be difficult to deal with no matter the severity. With years of experience, the Indianapolis auto accident attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham are ready to take on your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact a member of our team today at 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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