Road rage is not something to take lightly. It can lead to confusion and concern among other drivers, and it can be the cause of a serious car accident and injury. Shockingly, aggressive driving increased 500 percent between 2009 and 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It is important for all drivers to have a better understanding of road rage and how to prevent it from happening.
Road rage can present itself in many different ways. For instance, some people yell when they become mad. Accordingly, they will start yelling at other drivers, at passengers, at pedestrians, or even at what they hear on the radio. Other people will begin to drive more aggressively when they feel frustrated. They will speed up, try to breeze through traffic lights, make sudden lane changes, take turns too fast, or ignore street signs.
Other ways that road rage can manifest itself include:
- Honking the horn repeatedly and making obscene gestures. This could be while driving or while stopped in traffic to encourage other drivers to move out of their way.
- Tailgating, particularly when traffic is moving very slowly. Occasionally, drivers with road rage will start bumping the cars in front of them to try to force them to move.
- Getting out of the car to confront another driver. This can lead to an escalating situation that could put a driver at risk of injury.
How Does Road Rage Happen?
Road rage results from the escalating emotions of the driver. Emotions can change for multiple reasons. Suppose someone gets into a heated argument with the boss right before 5:00 p.m. The worker leaves the office in a highly charged emotional state. Once on the road, the driver continues to think about the argument. This leads to road rage and poor decision-making.
Road rage does not have to start before the driver gets behind the wheel, however. Being late, getting angry at another passenger, sitting in traffic too long, and getting honked at by other drivers can all put a driver in a frustrated mood.
It should also be noted that some people feel that driving aggressively is normal. Someone who regularly drives in a large city may believe that the only way to deal with heavy, bumper-to-bumper traffic is by driving aggressively. This false belief leads the driver to make choices that could lead to a serious accident.
How Can You Avoid a Road Rage Accident?
If possible, do not drive at all if you are angry. Take time to breathe deeply if you feel upset. It is better to wait to get on the road than to risk doing something you might regret. If necessary, you could walk around the parking lot or neighborhood to cool down.
Try to plan your trip ahead of time. Look at traffic patterns to predict when you should leave based on the weather and rush hour traffic. Do you tend to have road rage because you are late for appointments or work? Work on your time management skills so that you have less reason to become angry while driving.
You should also accept that some situations are out of your control while you are driving. If you do not let these situations bother you, you could avoid road rage.
What Should You Do if You Witness Road Rage?
Another person with road rage could put you in danger by driving erratically or behaving irrationally. Therefore, you should follow a few simple strategies if you think you might be sharing the road with an angry driver:
- Let the other driver pass you as soon as possible.
- Take a different route so that you are no longer on the same road as the aggressive driver.
- Avoid getting into any kind of shouting match with the driver.
- Turn into a convenient parking lot and wait a few minutes before getting back onto the road so that you have less contact with the driver.
- Call 911 if the driver threatens you in any way. Do not chase or confront the driver.
What Should I Do After a Road Rage Accident?
A car accident is a traumatic experience, and it can be even more frightening if the other driver has road rage. If this happens, you will want to protect yourself and your passengers. You are under no obligation to speak to the other driver.
Instead, you should immediately call 911 to report the incident, and you should wait in your car if it is possible. If you have to get out of your car, try not to engage with the other driver. If the driver tries to leave the accident scene, see if you can get their license plate number to inform the authorities once they arrive.
If the road rage incident leaves you with a serious car accident injury, you may want to contact a lawyer. A lawyer can help you explore your legal options and protect your rights.
Kensington Car Accident Lawyers at Wiggins Law, LLC Can Protect Your Rights After a Road Rage Accident
Did a road rage accident leave you with a severe injury and medical bills? If so, speak with one of our Kensington car accident lawyers at Wiggins Law, LLC. Call us at 267-225-0770 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Northeast Philadelphia, and we serve clients throughout the Philadelphia area, including Kensington, Tacony, Torresdale, Mayfair, Port Richmond, Allegheny, and Olney, Pennsylvania.