Updated: Jun 16
We have all felt the urge to scream and shout about how other drivers do not know how to drive or inconvenience us on the road. But did you know that road rage can actually affect your ability to drive and increase the likelihood of you getting into an accident?
Statistics show that accidents caused by road rage have a total of 12,610 injuries and 218 fatalities over the past seven-year period. Our accident attorneys dive into how to stay calm on the road, common causes of road rage, and what to do if you ever get into an accident with a driver who was experiencing road rage.
What are the common causes of road rage?
There is no exact way to pinpoint what causes people to experience road rage but here are the most common reasons people experience these intense emotions.
Traffic congestion - If you have ever been trapped in stop-and-go traffic, you know exactly what this feels like. When people have places to go and people to see dealing with long queues of unmoving traffic can cause extreme frustration. This inevitably leads to rash, aggressive, and sometimes even distracted driving.
Running late - If you are running late for appointments or meetings this is a key cause of road rage and sometimes even a car accident. The stress of missing an interview or a flight can bring out the aggressive driver in anyone.
Impaired driving - It is NEVER a good idea to get on the road if you have consumed any type of alcohol or narcotics. This not only impairs your reaction time and overall driving abilities but also leads to individuals having heightened emotions. This means on the road they will become easily enraged and most likely will resort in a car crash.
As we can see road rage can commonly be brought on by any individual and can resort in erratic driving. Common behaviors of individuals experiencing road rage include tailgating, verbal abuse, speeding, honking incessantly, bumping or ramming into other vehicles, changing lanes without indicators, making aggressive gestures, etc.
It is extremely important to try and remain calm and not engage in any of these behaviors as they usually result in negative driving habits.
How does road rage impact your driving skills and judgment?
As we have stated previously, road rage can make individuals make bad decisions. They can lead to accidents or fights which are not conducive to keeping the roads safe. Due to the fact that road rage allows your anger to operate, there is a higher risk of causing a traffic crash.
When a person is in that head space they are affecting their ability to concentrate and react appropriately. It makes you overlook some aspects of the road overall.
This tunnel vision style of driving makes you take more aggressive driving tactics that could put you in a more potentially dangerous situation. Since you are so focused on the person who angered you, everything else kind of goes out the window.
Even if you are a great driver and have never been in a car accident, road rage increases your risk of doing exactly that.
Some popular TV shows even show what the effects of road rage can be, such as that in the new show Beef which all started with an incident of road rage. If that didn't get it across maybe that episode of Seinfeld where George hits another car over a parking spot made it more clear? The point is the consequences of road rage can be dire.
Is Road Rage Illegal?
While road rage increases your risk of an accident it is not illegal to have those emotions. All of us have experienced it at one point or another. While nothing can fully stop us from engaging in road rage there are ways in which you can try to calm yourself.
If you do not calm yourself there is the possibility you will engage in illegal activities such as break checking, honking obnoxiously, or driving faster than the speed limit.
Road rage: The fast and furious way to get points on your license
While the act of engaging in road rage is not illegal, there are some rules in certain states regarding these behaviors.
For example, Florida’s “Aggressive Careless Driving” law, allows law enforcement officers to ticket drivers who display aggressive behavior on the road. This means if you are suspected of engaging in this behavior and it is what caused the accident, this can be recorded on the police report after an accident and be a ticketed offense.
The state law and rules regarding these behaviors vary as to what the consequences will be. Depending on how many times you are suspected of engaging in this behavior will determine what the punishment will be. It can range from just a ticketed offense to a revoking of one's license.
In addition to this if you are suspected of road rage enough times your insurance rate may actually go up as a result of them believing you are a high-risk driver.
Tips for Staying Zen Behind the Wheel
Due to the fact, it is so easy to become a slave to road rage, our accident attorneys have come up with some ways to stay calm.
It is important to try and focus on the road, take deep breaths, and try to listen to calming music. Remind yourself that getting angry doesn't fix the situation or make it any better.
Avoid Aggressive Driving and Drivers
When you're driving it's always important to keep your emotions in check.
If someone on the road does something you don't like it doesn't necessarily mean there is anything you can do about it. Try not to drive too close to those drivers or do anything that could potentially put you in harm's way.
If you have a driver that seems angry and is following you, make sure your doors are locked and that your windows are closed. Try and create distance between you and that driver if possible. If there is enough room to move between you and the car in front of you, attempt to move away from that driver. If they are still on your tail drive to the nearest police station.
If they are in front of you and purposely not abiding by road signs or driving safely try to take note of their license plate number and report it. Call 911 if you can't safely get away from the driver and explain to them that someone is driving aggressively behind you.
Instead of driving aggressively, drive defensively
Due to the fact that the roads are not the safest place to be you must always drive defensively. In contrast with aggressive driving, defensive driving ensures that you are abiding by speed limits, yielding to oncoming traffic, and are prepared for any instances that could cause a car accident.
If you are trying to instill safe driving habits, make sure you always do the following:
Keep a big gap between your car and the one in front.
Always use your turn signal to turn, pass, or get back into the traffic lane.
Drive the speed limit
Do not stay in or block the passing lane.
Please keep your eyes on the road to spot problems before they happen.
Don’t multitask while driving.
Never get behind the wheel while high or drunk.
What should I do if I get into an accident with a driver who is experiencing road rage?
Firstly, do not engage in a conversation with them rather call the police. People who are experiencing road rage tend to be irritable and irrational. Your best bet is to pull over, wait in a safe spot, and turn your hazard lights on until the police arrive. It is there that you can exchange information will be exchanged with a police officer present.
Take photographs of the scene and provide whatever evidence you can. Sometimes in road rage incidents, it may be helpful to get the badge number of the police officer on the scene. If you suffered any serious injuries you will want to get those attended to as soon as possible. You also may want to contact a personal injury attorney to help you with your car accident claims process.
Why should I contact a personal injury attorney?
A personal injury attorney will be able to help you when it comes to dealing with the other driver's insurance company and ensuring you get the compensation you deserve. That is why you should contact an experienced personal injury attorney such as those at Demesmin and Dover Law Firm.
We here at Demesmin and Dover take every case that enters our doors personally. So if you were hit by a driver that was experiencing road rage call us today for your free consultation at 866-954-MORE (6673).