Dealing With Dangerous Road Ragers
Aggressive driving is an increasing problem on roadways throughout the nation. Nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days, according to a recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Aggressive driving and road rage are dangerous. It is important to know how to deal with them to stay safe on the road.
What Are Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?
Aggressive driving is dangerous but common behavior in the U.S. AAA defines it as “any unsafe driving behavior, performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety. Examples of aggressive driving include:
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Cutting in front of other drivers
- Blocking another driver’s attempt to pass or switch lanes
- Braking in front of a vehicle or using bright headlights to punish other drivers
In extreme cases, aggressive driving can escalate to road rage. This may involve ramming or sideswiping another vehicle, forcing a driver off the road, throwing objects, hurling obscenities, making rude gestures, or other dangerous behavior.
Why Do Some People Rage on the Road?
We have all been frustrated driving in heavy traffic, particularly when a wreck, road construction, or some other factor causes it to slow down to a crawl. For some drivers, the combination of environmental and other factors can trigger road rage incidents. Contributing factors may include heavy traffic that breeds frustration, a sense of anonymity that leads drivers to feel bolder, and impatience because of time constraints. Certain actions of other drivers may trigger road rage, for example:
- Texting while driving in a vehicle ahead, which can lead to slow and/or erratic driving
- Merging onto a highway or into a traffic lane without allowing enough room
- Driving slower than other traffic in the far left lane instead of using it only to pass
- Tailgating another vehicle
- Making obscene gestures
What Should You Do When Someone Is Road Raging Around You?
Although you cannot control the behavior of other drivers on the road, you can control how you respond to it and your own driving behavior. To avoid getting into situations with road raging drivers, drive in a way that does not offend – never force other drivers to use their brakes or steering wheels in response to something you have done.
When you encounter aggressive or road raging drivers, do not respond personally. Follow the rules of the road and remain calm and courteous behind the wheel. If you must deal with confrontation:
- Avoid eye contact with an angry driver.
- Do not respond to aggression with aggression.
- Do not make gestures or insulting comments.
- Maintain space around your vehicle.
- Drive to a public place if you feel you are at risk and park allowing room to pull out safely.
- Remain in your locked vehicle and use your horn to attract attention if necessary.
- Call 911 if you feel threatened.
Can You Recover Compensation for an Accident Caused By a Road Raging Driver?
California is an at-fault state for car accidents. If a road raging driver caused your accident, that driver may be held liable for resulting injuries. It is not necessary for the offending driver to have been charged with a crime such as reckless driving or vehicular assault. To recover compensation, the law requires proving the liability on the part of the at-fault driver.
Contact a San Diego car accident lawyer at Eugene Bruno & Associates at (619) 209-6066 for a free case evaluation if you have been injured in a crash caused by an aggressive or road raging driver. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
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