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A misnomer. Correctly defined, "aggressive drivers" are the best drivers. Irresponsible and/or reckless driving was improperly described as "Aggressive." This unfortunate misuse of the language was heavily overused in the decade preceding 2010. True aggressive drivers are the most competent, alert and responsible drivers. The antonym for aggressive would be timid.Timid drivers are a major cause of automotive accidents and snarls nationwide.

The term "aggressive driving" is believed to have been coined by the media, grasping for a single adverb to describe myriad acts of reckless driving. When retaliatory, such acts are called "road rage." The etymology of the term is a study of careless use of the language. Misuse of the term gained popularity (roughly 2 decades old) and has become so ubiquitous in the media that retraction and correction in the short term is very unlikely. Even the NHTSA has partially adopted the misnomer and unfortunately defines 'aggressive'sic driving as occurring when "an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property." About 18 states have codified laws regarding so-called aggressive driving. Timid is the opposite of aggressive. Careful or prudent would be the opposite of reckless.
Aggressive Driving in correct usage means these drivers exhibit the exact opposite of timidity and contribute positively to safety -- Not disabled by fear, lack of confidence and lack of anticipation that characterize the timid driver. Aggressive drivers are accurately described as 'confident.' Timid or passive drivers lack confidence. Politically correct protectionists tend to like the pejorative use of the term "aggressive driver" because it fits their model of society and denial that harm comes from their own timidity.

Timid drivers creep slowly out into merge lanes, fail to move quickly to avoid dangerous situations, stop in protected merge lanes to see if there is traffic coming, operate vehicles significantly out of step with traffic flow, back up traffic more frequently than their peers, tend towards hesitation, rarely anticipate or look ahead, and typically have not learned to drive as fully functional adults. The timid driver is essentially devoid of a sense of timing. Timid drivers are characterized and motivated by fear rather than confidence. Timid drivers (unlike aggressive drivers) stop without warning, stop where no stop is warranted, fail to act, wait without reason, slow down at unexplained times, and drive too much slower than the rest of traffic.
by Groundhog54 December 03, 2009
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