According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), as many as 67 percent of traffic fatalities are the result of at least one driver’s aggressive behavior. Drivers exhibiting road rage can be extremely dangerous and their actions can have devastating consequences for victims and their families, so if you were recently involved in a crash and you believe that another driver’s actions caused or contributed to the accident, it is important to contact an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate your case and help you seek compensation for your losses.
What is Road Rage?
Road rage is defined as the violent and aggressive behavior of a driver stemming from his or her uncontrolled anger at another person on the road. Road rage is often exacerbated by the use of drugs or the consumption of alcohol, although outside stressors related to employment or one’s personal life can also contribute. Certain types of behavior are indicative that an aggressive driver is actually exhibiting road rage, such as:
- Purposefully wrecking into another vehicle;
- Attempting to run another car off the road;
- Attempting to physically confront another driver on the side of the road; and
- Brandishing or using a weapon to harm other drivers or damage their vehicles.
In many cases, road rage starts out as aggressive driving, which can include some or all of the following actions:
- Brake checking;
- Cutting off another driver;
- Failing to use turn signals;
- Flashing their headlights;
- Honking excessively;
- Verbally abusing other drivers; and
- Weaving in and out of their lane.
This type of aggressive driving is dangerous and often inspires road rage in others who are on the road, which can cause serious accidents involving multiple vehicles.
Reacting to Road Rage
Driving near another person who is struggling with road rage and driving aggressively can be terrifying. Drivers in these situations should try to diffuse the situation by implementing some of the following strategies:
- Attempting to pacify the other driver by waving or apologizing, even when not at fault;
- Calling the police if the driver poses an imminent threat;
- Ensuring that the windows are rolled up and the doors are locked;
- Filing a police report;
- Giving the other driver a wide space to pass;
- Pulling over at a public place, such as a busy parking lot to collect themselves;
- Refraining from making eye contact with the other driver, as they might view this as an act of aggression;
- Refusing to react to verbal abuse or exit the car;
- Remaining on well-lit and well-traveled roads; and
- When it is safe to do so, writing down information about the car, including its make, model, and license plate number.
Although it can be difficult in these types of situations, staying calm is of the utmost importance when another driver is exhibiting road rage, especially when traveling at high speeds. Drivers who find themselves targets of road rage should attempt to keep their emotions in check by:
- Acknowledging their feelings and making an effort to drive defensively;
- Breathing deeply;
- Focusing on the road ahead;
- Listening to soothing music;
- Remembering priorities, including personal safety and the love of family members;
- Taking the time to chew a piece of gum or take a sip of water;
- Trying to be tolerant of the mistakes of other drivers; and
- Turning up the air conditioning to cool off.
Drivers who are the target of aggressive driving or road rage should avoid certain behaviors at all costs, including:
- Confronting the other driver through the use of hand signals or by using aggressive or profane language;
- Leaving the car to address the other driver in person; and
- Retaliating with aggressive driving, such as weaving, honking, or tailgating.
Confronting another driver with road rage can have devastating consequences, including serious injury, vehicle damage, and even death.
Common Injuries From Road Rage Accidents
Unfortunately, despite a driver’s best efforts, he or she may be involved in a crash caused by another driver’s road rage. Injuries sustained by drivers and passengers tend to be especially painful in road rage accidents because one driver is almost always speeding and driving recklessly. Furthermore, these types of crashes often lead to multi-car pile-ups, which are especially dangerous as they involve multiple points of impact. Some of the most common injuries sustained by victims of road rage include:
- Scrapes and bruises;
- Broken bones;
- Spinal cord trauma, which can result in paralysis;
- Head injuries, ranging from concussions to traumatic brain injury;
- Internal bleeding or organ damage;
- Minor and deep lacerations from flying debris; and
- Facial fractures and abrasions from striking an airbag or window.
Treating these injuries can quickly overwhelm a family’s finances. Even small cuts could need medical attention if they are deep enough and require stitches or sutures. Broken bones must be set and victims may end up needing physical therapy when their casts are removed. Internal bleeding and organ damage requires emergency surgery, which can be prohibitively expensive as well as painful and dangerous. Fortunately, victims of road rage can collect compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and for the pain and suffering, they endured as a result of the crash.
Contact Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. to Speak With an Atlanta Car Accident Lawyer
Road rage leads to thousands of car crashes, injuries, and deaths every year and while all car accidents can be frightening and painful, those caused by road rage are especially frustrating because they are so easily avoided. Georgia residents should be able to feel safe on the road and not in danger of injury at the hands of an aggressive driver, so if you live in Atlanta and were recently involved in a crash with a driver who exhibited signs of road rage, please contact us at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A., by sending us a brief message containing a short description of your case as well your contact information and we’ll have a member of our legal team help you set up a free consultation with a dedicated car crash attorney in Atlanta GA.