Why Road Rage is Dangerous and How to Handle Aggressive Drivers

driver honking hornRoad rage is an increasingly common problem in California and across the nation. More than 80 percent of drivers admitted to experiencing anger or road rage at least once in the past year, according to a July 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

This trend is disturbing, because people who experience road rage are more likely to drive aggressively, increasing the risk of an accident that could cause serious personal injuries or even death.

If you have experienced injury or loss due to an aggressive driving or road rage incident, contact our trusted Sacramento car accident attorneys at the Arnold Law Firm. We can review your situation in a free, no-obligation consultation. You may be able to receive compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering you experienced after a road rage accident.

What is Road Rage?

The term road rage was first used by a Los Angeles news station in 1987 after a string of shootings on several freeways in Southern California. Road rage occurs when a driver operates his or her vehicle in a threatening manner, endangering other motorists or property. The term road rage also applies to situations when a driver behaves violently or uses his or her vehicle to assault others on the roadway.

Road rage can include any of the following driving behaviors:

  • Tailgating or following a vehicle at an unsafe distance
  • Yelling or cursing at other drivers
  • Cutting off another driver intentionally
  • Blocking entry to another vehicle
  • Speeding
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Honking angrily
  • Making obscene gestures to other drivers
  • Intentionally hitting another car
  • Getting out of a vehicle and confronting another driver
  • Physically assaulting another driver

Why Road Rage Happens

The root cause of road rage is often stress or anxiety in a driver's daily life. When a stressed or anxious driver gets behind the wheel and encounters frustrating or challenging situations, it may inspire road rage. Sometimes road rage is triggered by a driver feeling disrespected by another driver. Other times, the driver is in a hurry and becomes angry with drivers that are travelling at slower speeds or are perceived as causing a delay.

Other potential triggers for road rage include:

  • Lack of courtesy from other drivers
  • Traffic
  • Tiredness
  • Irritable mood
  • Being late

If you experience road rage while driving, calm down and take a few deep breaths. Try to have empathy for other drivers and forgive their mistakes. Pull over to a safe location and decompress for a few minutes. 

Driving carefully in a courteous manner can often help decrease the instances of road rage. Do not force another driver to brake or suddenly turn because you are not paying attention. If you suspect that another driver may be experiencing road rage, try to disengage from the situation.

Other ways to avoid confrontation or danger include:

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Do not retaliate
  • Do not make gestures or say anything to the angry driver
  • Slow down and increase the distance between you and the other driver
  • Stay in your vehicle and keep your doors locked
  • Stop in front of a police station if an angry driver follows you
  • Call the police if you feel threatened

What to Do if You are Involved in a Road Rage Accident

Despite your best efforts, accidents fueled by road rage can happen. If this occurs, take steps to protect yourself after this type of accident, including:

  • Remain calm – Do not try to retaliate against an angry driver who caused your accident. Since the other driver is not thinking rationally, it is up to you to be the calm and courteous person. Avoid talking to the driver, making any gestures or blaming him or her for the accident, which can further escalate the situation.
  • Report the accident – Report the accident immediately to local law enforcement. If the other driver has threatened you or is approaching your vehicle, notify the emergency responder.
  • Stay in your vehicle – If a driver was so angry that he or she caused an accident, remain in your vehicle until law enforcement arrives. You do not want the situation to become further escalated by being a victim of assault. If you have to exit your vehicle because of leaking gas or other dangers, stay far away from the other driver and try to stay in a public space.
  • Take mental notes – Try to remember the moments leading up to the accident and details about how the other driver drove aggressively. Take note of the other driver’s physical description and description of his or her vehicle. Aggressive drivers who cause accidents may fail to stop at the scene as required by law, so you may need to provide law enforcement with this information so that they can track down the liable party. 

Contact a Skilled Lawyer For Help

Road rage can cause serious collisions, especially when it involves travelling at high speeds. Victims of these accidents may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses and other damages, but it is vital to work with an attorney on your claim. Not only can an attorney manage every aspect of your case, he or she can also conduct a detailed investigation to determine an accurate valuation of your claim.

For a free consultation, contact an injury lawyer from Arnold Law today. We work on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid unless we recover compensation for you.

Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form or call us at (916) 777-7777