I am wondering what the difference is between reckless driving and aggressive driving. To me these are the same kind of thing.


2 Answers 2


As far as I understand (and supported e.g. by this):

  • reckless driving: when one drives disrespecting traffic laws, yet not necessarily with the goal to cause harm
  • aggressive driving: when one drives with the goal to cause harm or trouble

However, at least in the USA those definitions are state dependent. In some definitions, such as from the Dept. of Transportation, they might overlap:

The first is "Reckless Driving" which is defined as "any person who drives any vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property." Aggressing driving *should be less than reckless driving, but more than one simple act or failing to yield right of way. The Washington State law classifies aggressive driving under its "Negligent Diving in the Second Degree" (RCW 46.61.525), "operating a motor vehicle in a manner that is both negligent and endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property."

  • Actually, aggressive driving does not have to have intent or goal to cause harm. Your answer seems to suggest that aggressive driving is more severe than reckless driving, since it has the goal of harm. However, neither of your sources define aggressive driving with the words "goal or intent to harm". Further, since your second source explicitly states that aggressive driving is less severe than reckless driving, it would follow that there is even less intent to harm in aggressive driving than there is in reckless driving.
    – Egghead99
    Commented Sep 9, 2014 at 4:54
  • I don't think agressive driving implies an intention to cause harm, but rather an intention to assert dominance. A driver might be reckless without being aggressive if he sets the cruise control and then proceeds to give himself a pedicure. A driver might be aggressive without being reckless if he harasses other drivers until they yield the right of way to him, but avoids ever getting so close as to pose a danger to himself or the other motorist.
    – supercat
    Commented Sep 21, 2014 at 21:38

Aggressive driving and dangerous driving are usually considered to mean the same thing. If someone drives aggressively, it means that they drive in a reckless manner, such as speeding, tail-gating, excessively changing lanes, or improperly passing.

Dangerous driving basically means the same thing, although this term seems to be more common in British English than American English, especially as a legal term.

So, I agree with you. They basically mean the same thing.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .