If you drive a car, it is very likely that you’ve experienced “road rage.” Road rage typically arises when a driver becomes irritated by the actions of another driver. It is completely normal to feel this anger, but often the rage is disproportionate to the situation and can lead to a dangerous situation. In many cases, road rage can lead to reckless driving. While there are overlap between road rage and reckless driving, there are notable distinctions. While transportation safety agencies are very concerned about road rage, it is not yet considered a technical offense in and of itself. Most often, road rage is used to describe different behaviors that constitute aggressive driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving based on exchanges with law enforcement officers and the judiciary. According to NHTSA, aggressive driving occurs when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” The way this behavior is charged by law enforcement depends on state laws. The behavior sought to be prevented, however, is similar.
Reckless driving, like driving under the influence, can also be a criminal charge arising from a traffic law. While specifics of state statutes may vary, the same conduct is being punished. An individual who drives recklessly shows a willful or wanton disregard for the rules of the road the safety of others. This may be a single dangerous move or a series of actions. When a driver disobeys the rules of the road in this regard, they may be subject to a criminal charge.
Aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding and tailgating, can often lead to road rage situations. Nevertheless, there are several ways to avoid becoming involved in a road rage incident. First, move over if someone is tailgating you. Be pleasant and courteous with other drivers through your demeanor and hand gestures. Plan ahead to avoid the feeling of being rushed. Be considerate of other drivers on the road, and adjust your driving accordingly. It is important to use your horn sparingly. Furthermore, if you come into contact with an angry driver, avoid eye contact and give them plenty of room.
There is good reason to avoid becoming involved in a road rage incident. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that aggressive driving plays a role in 66% of traffic fatalities. The report also found that approximately 50% of people who encounter aggressive driving behavior respond in kind. Another alarming fact is that a firearm is involved in 37% of aggressive driving incidents. It is no wonder that, considering these statistics, motorists rate aggressive driving behaviors as a top threat to highway safety.
If you or someone you love are injured as a result of an aggressive driver, contact the experienced attorneys at Wittmer|Linehan. Our attorneys can help you better understand your rights and assist you in maximizing your recovery. We know that results matter to our clients and we are here to get those results for you.