Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
According to a survey conducted by the Washington Post, nearly a third of all American drivers believe that road rage and aggressive drivers are the biggest threat to their safety while on the road. Sometimes, road rage can result in car accidents or other types of injuries. If someone’s road rage or aggressive driving caused your wreck, you may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical expenses.
Although it can be difficult to remain calm when provoked by an aggressive driver, always maintain your composure to not escalate the situation and further endanger yourself and others on the road. According to the National Safety Council, more than half of all road rage victims responded to the initial aggressor with aggression themselves.
What is the Difference?
Aggressive driving is a traffic offense that has been defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a combination of traffic offenses that can threaten the safety of others. Road rage tends to be more violent and physical than aggressive driving, but both can result in injuries and fatalities. Examples of aggressive driving include:
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Frequent lane changes without using a turn signal
- Cutting off other drivers
- Driving on the shoulder, median, or sidewalk
- Passing other vehicles where prohibited
- Failing to obey traffic signs
In many cases, aggressive driving escalates into road rage. The National Safety Council has defined road rage as the physical assault of another driver that occurs as a result of a traffic incident. Road rage is considered more serious than aggressive driving, and can result in criminal sanctions. This happens when a driver retaliates for some perceived action of another driver on the road. Some common examples of road rage include:
- Using one’s vehicle as a weapon to inflict physical harm on another driver or their property
- Tailgating and following too closely
- Honking or repeatedly flashing one’s headlights
- Yelling rude comments at another driver
- Using offensive hand gestures toward another driver or pedestrian
- Cutting off another vehicle, then stopping abruptly, and causing an accident
According to the National Safety Council, young males are more likely to exhibit road rage than other demographics, and well over one-third of all road rage incidents involve firearms.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of Road Rage
Remember that many road rage accidents occur when a driver overreacts to something, so don’t give other drivers a reason to become aggressive towards you. Never assume that you understand the mental state of another driver.
- Keep all car doors locked and close your windows
- Do not make rude gestures at other drivers
- Never flash your lights at other drivers
- Avoid making prolonged eye contact with other motorists
- Never get out of your car and approach another driver on the road
- If you feel threatened by someone, call the police or drive to the nearest police station
- Never tailgate another driver
- If you see two other drivers engaging in aggressive behavior, but you are not involved, call the police and make a report anyway
- If you become angry at another driver, diffuse the situation as soon as possible by putting on soothing music, mouthing an apology, or allowing them room to pass you
South Carolina Car Accident Lawyers at Chappell, Smith & Arden Represent Victims of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving
If you have been injured in an accident and believe that aggressive driving or road rage was a factor, our experienced car accident lawyers in York County at Chappell, Smith & Arden can help. Call us today at 803-929-3600 or contact us online to set up a free, confidential consultation. With six locations, we represent injured victims and their families in Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County, as well as the towns of Columbia, Lexington, Irmo, Chapin, Rock Hill, Aiken, Sumter, Newberry, Florence, and Spartanburg, and throughout South Carolina.