We’ve all experienced frustration while driving at one point or another, but road rage is a problem that can have serious repercussions. There is a fine line between the irritation most drivers experience on the road and the retaliatory action that is road rage, an action that can endanger everyone on the roadways with the enraged driver.
So what is road rage, and how can you practice safe driving to avoid a road rage accident?
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is explosive anger that is triggered by inconveniences and incidents that happen while driving. This anger is most often retaliatory, as the upset driver believes that they have been wronged in one way or another and they take their revenge on the perceived wrongdoer.
Road rage is fairly common among drivers, as one survey found that nearly 80 percent of drivers have expressed significant anger or aggression behind the wheel at least once within the course of a year. While most road rage incidents include harmless horn honking or name calling, road rage can lead to violence or serious car crashes.
What Contributes to Road Rage?
While there are many different reasons why a driver might have road rage, these are some common contributors:
- Traffic Delays: Heavy traffic, waiting at red lights, looking for parking, or even waiting for passengers can increase a driver’s anger level.
- Impatience: Running late or behind for an appointment can cause drivers to become impatient.
- Anonymity: If the driver feels as though they will never see the other drivers again, they may feel more comfortable engaging in risky or aggressive behaviors.
- Habitual or Learned Behavior: For some drivers, this behavior is normal or is learned over time.
Common Forms of Road Rage
Everybody will react differently when they feel upset or angered while driving, so no one driver with road rage will act the exact same. However, there are some forms of road rage that are common across multiple drivers:
- Angry gestures
- Blocking another vehicle from changing lanes
- Cutting off another vehicle intentionally
- Following the perceived wrongdoer
- Initiating a confrontation outside of the car
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Driving on the sidewalk or median
What To Do If A Driver Acts Aggressively Toward You
If another driver begins to act aggressively toward you on the road, you should take the following actions to avoid a potential accident or dangerous altercation.
- Stay away: Safely change lanes or gradually slow down to let the agitated driver pass. Do your best to keep a safe distance between you and the aggressive driver.
- Don’t engage or reciprocate: While it can be tempting to engage, do your best to ignore the aggressive driver. Engaging could escalate the situation and put you or others in danger.
- Don’t stop: Stopping your vehicle could lead to a person-to-person confrontation, which could be dangerous.
- Stay aware of the other driver: If you’re worried that the other driver is following you, keep your doors locked and drive to the nearest police station.
Taking a defensive driving course can also help to teach you safe driving techniques in the event you are the receiving end of another driver’s road rage. In fact, most insurance companies will offer a discount off your premium if you take the course and send proof of completion.
What to Do If You’re Involved In A Road Rage Accident
So, what should you do if you’re involved in a road rage accident? First, you should know that road rage is considered a criminal offense, as the driver is acting intentionally to cause harm or distress to the recipient of their actions.
If you’re injured in a road rage accident:
- Call 911: Immediately call 911 after the accident occurs to file a police report. If the accident is a hit and run, collect as much information as you can about the car including make, model, license plate, potential damage, and direction the car was seen heading.
- Seek medical attention: Although you may not think of your injuries as serious, pain may intensify after the adrenaline dies down. Official medical records are also extremely valuable pieces of information when you file your claim against the at-fault driver.
- Take photos: If possible, take as many photos as you possibly can of the damage to your car, the surrounding area, your injuries and photos of the other car if they are still at the scene. If the driver of the car is aggressive, wait until the authorities arrive to exit your vehicle to take photographs.
- Gather witness information: If there were witnesses to the accidents or any of the events leading up to the accident, do your best to collect their information. These statements can be extremely beneficial to your claim.
- Contact a car accident attorney: Before speaking to the insurance company regarding your claim, it is always wise to speak with a trusted car accident attorney. An attorney will be able to help you understand the complexity of your claim and negotiate a better offer with the insurance company.
Road rage accidents can be very serious in nature. At Cellino Law, we understand how stressful and scary dealing with road rage can be, especially if you were injured as a result of a road rage accident. If you have any questions about a road rage claim, or for a free case consultation, don’t hesitate to reach out to our compassionate team of attorneys. We can be reached 24/7 at 800-555-5555.