You might not think anything of it, but according to Colorado traffic laws, waving that middle finger in anger at another driver is not a good idea.

Sure, he's the one who cut you off. Failed to use a turn signal. Pulled out in front of you and nearly sideswiped you. Guess what? It doesn't matter.

According to the Colorado Drivers Handbook, flipping the bird could result in aggressive driving charges against you.

A single act, such as tailgating another driver, passing on the shoulder or running a red light could be seen by a law enforcement officer as aggressive if the officer believes the action is willful and places others in danger. A combination of acts, such as speeding, cutting off other vehicles, swerving toward another motorist, honking, flashing headlights, yelling and using inappropriate hand gestures can also be considered aggressive driving.

-Colorado Drivers Handbook

Often times a road rage incident escalates simply because one driver chooses to respond to anger in a retaliatory manner.

The handbook suggests you

  • Don't engage with the other driver
  • Don't attempt to match their aggressive act
  • If you did something to make the other driver mad, just back off, and don't respond to their angry words and gestures

As the handbook points out, a few seconds of engagement with an angry driver can have dire consequences and the loved ones you have in the car with you.

The next time somebody's bad driving flips your switch, don't flip the bird. In the big picture of things, it doesn't really matter, does it? Let cooler heads prevail, save yourself some grief and a possible traffic citation for aggressive driving.