“Road rage” describes unsafe and violent actions by drivers. Often, incidents of road rage escalate, leading to anger and hostility that may end with a person causing intentional harm to another.
The AAA Foundation reported that many drivers admitted to becoming “extremely frustrated or angered” while driving in the past year. Aggressive actions, such as abrupt lane-changing and tailgating, contribute to an estimated 56% of traffic fatalities. AAA estimates that over seven million U.S. drivers have exited their vehicles to encounter another driver, or struck another vehicle intentionally. Nine of 10 people surveyed felt that aggressive driving was either “somewhat of a threat” or “a serious threat” to safety on our roadways.
The privilege of driving brings with it the responsibility of obeying the laws. And reckless or negligent actions have consequences.
Expressing road rage may include excessive speeding, frequently changing lanes, following the vehicle ahead too closely, or ignoring traffic signs or signals.
Tips to Prevent Road Rage
- Practice relaxing. Try breathing exercises, or putting on music that you like.
- If you’re being tailgated, move over to allow that driver through.
- When you make a driving error, use an “I’m sorry” gesture and move forward.
- Leave early. Unexpected delays may lead to frustration from being late.
- Do not consistently use your horn when behind the wheel.
- Give the benefit of the doubt when someone is driving aggressively; perhaps he is experiencing a medical emergency.
- Avoid making eye contact, which may escalate into a “personal” confrontation.
- Do not use obscene gestures in response to other drivers.
- Leave plenty of room between your vehicle and others, giving you greater reaction time.
Some techniques to manage anger can also be effective in preventing road rage. Often, we overreact in these situations, but the underlying reason may stem from other stress we are experiencing in our lives. Drivers should remain cool and not interpret other drivers’ rude behavior as personal. Dr. Robert Nemorovski, who specializes in managing anger and anxiety, explains that we need to put ourselves in “the shoes of other drivers.” Viewing actions in this matter makes it more likely that you will not be offended, keep things in a proper perspective, and avoid getting extremely angry.
If You Were Injured by Road Rage
Road rage occurs on a daily basis in North Carolina. We all experience frustration while driving at times. Situations such as traffic congestion may be a result of a prior accident that occurred, a disabled vehicle, or a road construction project. Whatever the cause may be, there is simply no excuse for escalating a situation into road rage.
If you have incurred severe injuries or property damage after someone demonstrated aggressive or reckless actions, you may be entitled to recover compensation. Car accident victims may pursue damages for medical bills, lost wages, destroyed property, and other economic damages. In addition, you may be eligible for noneconomic damages such as for pain, suffering, and reduced quality of life.
In cases involving a defendant whose actions were intentional, malicious, or willful or wanton (reckless) in nature, it is possible to be awarded punitive damages that serve to punish the offender. Road rage may fall into this category, so it’s very important to reach out to an experienced Wilmington car accident attorney if you are seriously hurt, like the victims above. Call Rhine Law Firm, P.C., at (910) 772-9960 for a free consultation.