Whether it is because of economic improvement, lower gas prices, or other reasons, Americans are driving more, according to a Federal Highway Administration spokesman. Unfortunately, this also means there are more incidents of road rage, especially on busy roads like Interstate 95. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as angry and violent behaviors towards another motorist, typically stemming from aggressive driving. As aggressive driving escalates, road rage often manifests, leading to physical harm and fatalities.
Road Rage Incidents are Increasing
According to the FHA, I-95, the nation’s busiest highway, has been the scene of numerous road rage incidents over the past few months. Recently, in Florida, a car crash led to a fight between two drivers resulting in one person being stabbed to death. Less than a month later, a mother and son were cursed at and held at gunpoint in another road rage incident. A few days later in Maryland, two people were arrested for pointing a gun at another motorist.
Road rage is a common cause of accidents in South Carolina as well. Most people have experienced frustration while driving, however road rage specifically refers to the manifestation of those feelings through aggressive and violent behaviors. Intentionally running into another vehicle, running a vehicle off the road, pulling over to engage in a fight, or drawing weapons are all examples of road rage.
How to Respond to Road Rage
It is prudent to avoid road rage whenever possible and to respond appropriately when confronted with it. Here are a few tips for responding to another driver’s road rage:
- Remain calm
- Avoid eye contact
- Roll up your windows and lock your doors
- Stay on well-lit roads and only pull over in populated areas if necessary
- Write down a description of the driver and their vehicle
- Call the police
- File a police report and/or seek legal counsel
Legal Liability for Road Rage Incidents
Victims of road rage incidents may be able to hold perpetrators liable through criminal and civil causes of action, such as battery. One does not need to hit another person to be guilty of battery; any harmful or offensive contact with something near the person is sufficient. An example of battery during an incident of road rage is pounding on another driver’s car while someone is inside or near that car.
Those injured in road rage incidents may receive compensatory damages for medical bills and lost wages due to injuries or may be awarded punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter future bad actions. Victims may pursue criminal charges against the driver in a road rage incident or, if someone suffered fatal injuries due to someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, the victim’s survivors may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim to hold the person at fault civilly liable.
Columbia Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Represent Victims of Road Rage
If you or your loved one was the victim of a road rage incident, contact a skilled Columbia car accident lawyer at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A.. We are here to help victims and their families through the aftermath of road rage. For over three decades, our knowledgeable and compassionate lawyers have been representing clients in counties throughout South Carolina, including Columbia, Lexington County, Richland County, and Kershaw County. Contact us online or call us at 803-929-3600 for a free consultation.