Road rage can be disastrous for everyone on the road. Driving requires calm and collected focus in order to keep you and other drivers safe. When drivers allow themselves to be consumed by road rage, there’s a greater chance of an accident in which people get seriously injured. In fact, many consider road rage to be one of the leading causes of auto accident injuries and even fatalities.
No matter how adept you are at avoiding anger on the road, you must always keep an eye out for less-skilled drivers on the road. Fortunately, road rage is fairly easy to spot. Learn how to protect yourself from road rage injuries, and discover how a skilled personal injury lawyer can help you in the aftermath of an accident caused by driver rage.
What is Road Rage?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, road rage is when a driver becomes committed to causing harm or endangering the lives of others on the road, committing multiple traffic offenses in their state of anger. Basically, any action that can be considered provoking, aggressive or generally antisocial constitutes road rage.
While road rage isn’t the only cause for car accidents due to driver error, the NHTSA estimates that it may account for around 66 percent of them. With such a heavy impact on the frequency of car accidents, you need to know what to do if you come into contact with a driver exhibiting the telltale signs of road rage. These can include excessive horn blowing, tailgating, swerving, shouting and, at times, forced collision with other vehicles.
How to Respond to Road Rage
For many people, their first instinct when faced with an angry driver is to calm them. They may back off or move to slower lanes of traffic, hoping the angry driver will calm down. Unfortunately, this tactic is often futile, as it’s generally not the driving conditions that are fueling the rage. Being inside a car grants us a degree of anonymity and creates a safe space in which people are less inclined to keep their emotions in check.
A variety of issues, such as stress at work or problems at home, may be causing their short temper, and that’s not something you’re going to be able to solve. You may have accidentally cut someone off, or you may have done nothing at all. People pick their road rage targets for reasons that are not always easy to predict, so you must always be prepared.
The first thing you need to do is remain calm. Focus on the road and ignore the aggressive driver. Remember to avoid making eye contact. When you decline to acknowledge their aggressive driving, they’re more inclined to stop since it’s having no effect. While you do want to avoid engaging with the driver, you should still pay attention to their vehicle, as you need to make sure you’re maintaining a safe distance from them. If the situation gets particularly dangerous and seems as if they might hit you, call the police immediately.
What to do When You’re In a Road Rage Incident
In some driver rage cases, an accident is simply inevitable. If it happens to you, there are steps you should take to ensure your own safety. Again, you need to remain calm. This is understandably difficult, as a person having an emotional meltdown just caused damage to your car and possibly injured you, but it is imperative. De-escalating the situation is the only way to prevent more harm from occurring.
Always call the police as soon as you can. Be sure to let them know if you’re still being threatened or provoked by the other driver. After confirming that help is on the way, stay in your car. Roll the windows up, lock the doors and refuse to make eye contact with the driver. In some cases, the accident will make remaining inside the vehicle unsafe. If that’s the case, get out and get as far away from the other driver as you can. You can seek help by trying to enter a public place, making it less likely for the other driver to harm you.
Pursuing a Civil Suit With the Help of a Personal Injury Lawyer
The police will take care of any criminal charges against the offending driver, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can pursue a civil suit as well, and for that, you’ll need the help of a skilled injury attorney. They can help you put together a case to prove that the road raging driver is liable for your accident.
If you’re looking for a personal injury lawyer for your road rage incident case in Chattanooga, McMahan Law Firm is happy to help. We have years of experience working with these kinds of cases, and we have a long history of success that you can count on. Contact us today for a free consultation.