Unfortunately, aggressive driving and road rage are more common in the U.S., and cause many deadly accidents. According to an AAA Newsroom survey in 2016, nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed road rage, aggressive driving, or significant anger in the last year. Even more frightening, more road rage incidents involve guns.
While you can take steps to avoid being the victim of a road rage accident, you cannot guarantee that you and your family wouldn't be injured or killed in a tragic wreck caused by another motorist. If you're in this situation, our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you hold the grossly negligent driver responsible for compensating you for your injuries.
What Is Road Rage?
Some people incorrectly believe that aggressive driving and road rage are the same. However, this isn't true. Aggressive driving is a type of traffic violation, such as weaving between lanes, speeding, following another motorist too closely, and not signaling before changing lanes.
While road rage may start out as aggressive driving, it can escalate into something more dangerous. Road rage is a criminal act. A person engages in road rage while committing traffic violations that endanger other people or property, or assaulting the driver or passengers of another vehicle with his or her mode of transport or a weapon.
Ways that drivers engage in road rage include:
- Making rude or obscene gestures
- Making threats
- Throwing objects
- Ramming a vehicle or person
- Sideswiping a vehicle
- Running a motorist off the road
- Using or brandishing a gun or other weapon
How to Spot Road Rage
Road rage happens for a number of reasons. People cross the line and drive dangerously due to stress, distractions, and anger over other parts of their lives. These aren't excuses, but they do help you understand the root causes.
You need to know the signs of a dangerous motorist to keep your family and you safe. When driving, be alert for these warning signals of road rage:
- Leering or staring at other drivers or passengers
- Excessive speeding—one of the most obvious signs of road rage
- Making obscene or threatening gestures
- Weaving and making other unsafe lane changes
- Honking at other drivers
- Braking suddenly for no apparent reason
- Flashing his lights
What You Should Do If You Believe You're the Victim of Road Rage
If you notice warnings signs from another motorist, take steps to avoid escalating the situation—especially if his or her anger is directed at you. AAA recommends that you follow these three general guidelines:
- Don’t be offensive. You want to try to avoid engaging in offensive actions, such as causing a driver to change direction or speed because of your own actions.
- Don't respond. Avoid any type of response or retaliation, such as making eye contact or gestures.
- Forgive. Don't get upset when a driver engages in a bad behavior, or fan the flames of the situation by your own actions. Recognize that the driver may just be having a bad day, and what he did wasn't directed at you personally.
You can also take practical steps to avoid the dangers or a road rage accident by doing the following:
- Call 911 to report the license plate number and make and model of the vehicle.
- Remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible—even if this means going in a different direction than you intended or leaving the highway.
- If you believe that you are in danger, go to a public place, like a police station, fire station, or hospital.
- If confronted, remain in your locked vehicle and remain courteous and polite.
If you were the victim of a road rage accident, you need the help of an experienced car accident attorney to negotiate your settlement with the negligent driver’s insurance company so your rights are protected and you receive proper compensation. Contact us online or callus directly at 816.471.5111 to find out how our skilled legal team can help by requesting your complimentary case evaluation.