Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jul 26, 2017 in Auto Accidents
Driving in heavy traffic can be frustrating to even the most level-headed motorists. However, some motorists may turn their frustration into anger and their actions could become road rage.
Unfortunately, road rage is common on U.S. roadways and puts all motorists, pedestrians and cyclists at risk of an accident, injury or death.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from road rage, you should understand what it is, how its caused, and how you can avoid it.
If you or someone you love has been injured in an auto accident caused by road rage, do not hesitate to contact the dedicated Fort Worth car accident attorneys at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings for a free, no obligation consultation.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is an extreme form of aggressive driving that is defined as reckless or hostile behavior caused by a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of other motorists or traffic conditions.
Motorists who engage in road rage often display violent actions, such as:
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Running another motorist off the road
- Hitting the other motorist’s vehicle with their own
- Cursing or obscenely gesturing at other motorists
- Physically confronting other motorists
- Using a weapon to inflict harm on another driver or vehicle
Oftentimes, road rage begins with a motorist who drives aggressively and engages in several dangerous and illegal driving maneuvers, including:
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Cutting off other vehicles
- Blocking vehicles in traffic
- Brake checking
- Flashing headlights
Although some motorists might feel justified engaging in road rage, this behavior has been shown to increase aggressiveness in surrounding motorists.
For instance, approximately 50 percent of motorists who are subjected to aggressive driving are likely to respond with similar behavior toward the aggressor by honking, signaling an obscene gesture or tailgating.
Causes of Road Rage
In a 2016 study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of participants admitted to engaging in road rage at least once within the past year while operating a vehicle.
Although road rage is common, there is no single factor that causes it. Instead, it is usually a buildup of multiple behavioral traits and experiences that a motorist might currently be facing.
A motorist might engage in road rage after feeling insulted on the road or venting frustrations from his or her personal life in the form of aggressive driving.
Some of the most frequently reported causes of road rage include:
- Driver stress
- Reacting to slower drivers
- Being cut-off in traffic by another motorist
- Failing to check blind spots
- Moving into another lane without using a blinker
- Rushing to reach a destination
- Frustration or feeling pressured by traffic conditions
If you become upset or angry while driving, you should safely pull over to the side of the road, collect your thoughts and take deep breaths to calm yourself down.
How to Avoid Road Rage
Road rage is responsible for approximately 66 percent of all traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In order to stay safe from a motorist who might be engaging in road rage, you will need to know how to appropriately respond to such a situation. The following tips may help you to safely navigate an encounter with an overly aggressive driver:
- Do not retaliate when another driver expresses anger or aggression
- Think twice before slamming on your horn or gesturing at another driver
- Remain calm and considerate to other motorists
- Allow an aggressive driver to pass and move out of your way
- Avoid making eye contact with a driver who is being openly hostile
- Never get out of your vehicle to confront a hostile driver
If you are being pursued by a hostile driver and feel unsafe, immediately contact the police to report the situation. Stay on the phone with the police operator and inform him or her of your current location. Do not drive home if you are being followed and either continue driving or go to a safe public place to wait for the police.
Contact Our Lawyers
If you have been injured in an accident caused by road rage, our attorneys will pursue the at-fault driver to recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Learn your legal options by scheduling a free, no-obligation consultation with our Fort Worth personal injury attorneys. We accept cases on a contingency basis, which means we only charge you if we recover compensation for your claim.