FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2011-07-21
It is likely that all drivers have either exhibited or experienced road rage first-hand. The causes of road rage may be different for each motorist, but the resulting aggressive driving behavior is clearly recognizable. The effects left behind by road rage incidents, like car accidents, injuries and deaths, are even more disturbing than the behavior itself. Victims of road rage should know they can hire legal help to hold aggressive drivers accountable for their actions.
Signs of Road Rage
Road rage is a term commonly used to describe aggressive driving behavior that often leads to extremely angry or violent actions by drivers. Typical signs of road rage while driving include tailgating, excessive honking or flashing lights, and sudden movements like accelerating, braking or cutting off other drivers. Motorists may also act aggressively by making obscene hand gestures, swearing or shouting insults or threats. In more extreme cases, drivers may intentionally cause accidents or directly attempt to injure others.
Causes of Aggressive Driving
There are various factors that may cause people to engage in overly aggressive driving resulting from road rage. These include misunderstanding another driver’s actions, acting territorially about personal road space, trying to assert one’s dominance using a vehicle and using driving as a way to vent frustrations. Stress, whether from work or family obligations or a long commute, may be another factor that causes people to lash out at others on the road. Regardless of the cause, drivers should exercise self control to prevent road rage.
About 66 percent of yearly traffic deaths are caused by aggressive driving behavior, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Additional data shows that 40 percent of motorists have experienced some form of road rage from other drivers during the course of a year. Depending on the state, drivers who end up causing accidents and injuring or killing other people may be charged with crimes like aggressive driving, assault and battery, with or without a vehicle, or criminal vehicular homicide.
Facing Road Rage Head-On
People who experience extreme road rage behavior should avoid the aggressive driver and vehicle and report it to local authorities whenever possible, even if no accidents or injuries result. For drivers who exhibit overly aggressive driving, learning how to let go of driving frustrations and calm down by breathing deeply or pulling over is key. It is important for aggressive motorists to recognize the dangerousness of their actions and try to change their behavior before they cause a crash that injures or kills others or themselves.
If you were the victim of an accident that involved road rage, contact a local personal injury attorney experienced in road rage crashes to discuss your legal rights and options for compensation. A lawyer can help you hold those drivers who exhibit road rage accountable for their actions, which hopefully prevents them from harming others.