Many drivers engage in aggressive driving. Have you?

Many drivers have admitted to engaging in aggressive driving. This behavior can include tailgating and speeding, and can result in criminal charges.

It is a frightening scenario encountered by countless drivers on the New Jersey Turnpike and across the country. A driver becomes angered or impatient and takes this frustration out on others. Whether the behavior is tailgating and swerving in and out of lanes or outright attempting to harm someone else, aggressive driving and road rage pose significant dangers to those in the path of an angry driver.

An incident that occurred in Lakewood last September showed that anyone can engage in aggressive driving, including those who should show professionalism on the road. NJ.com reported that a FedEx driver and school bus driver both lost their jobs after a dashboard camera recorded both men driving dangerously. Reportedly, the driver of the FedEx truck swerved toward the school bus after the bus, which fortunately did not have any passengers, tried to illegally pass the other vehicle. The FedEx driver was charged with aggravated assault.

Studies show aggressive driving is common

Authorities claim that 56 percent of fatal motor vehicle accidents involve some type of aggressive driving. In studies from AAA, it was revealed that most drivers had driven aggressively at least once during their lives. Almost 80 percent of those polled said they had expressed "significant anger" behind the wheel during the past year, states NBC News.

Although similar in nature, aggressive driving and road rage are treated differently by law enforcement. According to the American Safety Council, both driving types can result in people being injured in crashes. However, road rage is considered a criminal offense, since "road ragers" are attempting to cause physical harm to another. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, typically involves an angry or impatient driver speeding, swerving between lanes, following other vehicles too closely and using angry gestures.

Drivers on the receiving end of aggression or road rage may take several measures to protect themselves, including the following:

· Refraining from escalating the conflict

· Attempting to calmly and safely get away from the other driver

· Not driving home, but instead driving to a well-lit parking lot or police station

· Using a cellphone to call 911 if the other driver is pursuing

Being on the receiving end of an angry driver can be terrifying and has the potential to result in serious injuries. Those who were injured by others may have the right to pursue compensation for their medical expenses and other losses. It may help to seek the advice of an experienced New Jersey personal injury attorney.