What Is the Difference Between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving?

aggressive driving

Is there a difference between road rage and aggressive driving? Road accidents are caused by a variety of reasons. In most cases, a driver unintentionally causes a crash by driving carelessly or recklessly. Taking a phone call while driving, for instance, is an example of careless and distracted driving. If you are a victim of a crash caused by distracted driving, you can seek damages with the help of a Charlotte car accident lawyer.

There are some situations where deliberate intent or anger on the part of the driver is involved. When this is the case, the driver’s behavior may be categorized as road rage or aggressive driving. There is a notable difference between these two legal terms and the penalties for a crash can be stiffer if either of these behaviors is found to be the cause.

Here is a look at what road rage and aggressive driving are, as well as the key differences between the two.

What Is Aggressive Driving?

Aggressive driving is simply when another driver starts driving recklessly and dangerously out of frustration or anger. Such behavior is quite common among drivers and is often a contributing factor in a crash.

Common examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Making sudden lane changes. A driver who wants to get somewhere quickly may become frustrated at the traffic and make rapid lane changes to get to a destination sooner. However, doing so endangers other people on the road. On its own, sudden lane change is a traffic violation for which a driver may be issued a ticket.
  • Speeding. Speeding on an empty road is a normal traffic violation. However, if a driver is found to be speeding in heavy traffic, this constitutes aggressive driving behavior.
  • Unnecessary honking. Honking repeatedly and excessively is another sign of aggressive driving.
  • Lane blocking. If a vehicle blocks a lane so that other drivers are unable to pass by or switch lanes, this is also regarded as aggressive behavior on the part of the driver.
  • Tailgating. Tailgating, in general, is categorized as aggressive driving behavior. It constitutes following another vehicle too closely so that the risk of an accident increases manifold.

It is important to note here that some aggressive driving behaviors may be cause for a traffic ticket on their own. Under North Carolina laws about aggressive driving, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Penalties include:

  • A sentence of 1 to 45 days at the community punishment level if the driver has no prior convictions.
  • Active, intermediate, or community punishment for 1 to 45 days if the driver has one to four prior convictions.
  • Active, intermediate, or community punishment for 1 to 60 days if the driver has five or more prior convictions.

What Is Road Rage?

Road rage is a more extreme category of driving behavior. This is when another driver completely loses control and specifically engages in rude or dangerous activities directed towards you or another person on the road. Unlike aggressive driving, road rage more prominently displays the aggression of a driver and is typically an in-person experience for the other person who is being targeted.

Common examples of road rage include:

  • Yelling and cursing. Drivers can become so overwhelmed with their anger that they start yelling, cursing, and making rude gestures at another driver. This constitutes road rage.
  • Throwing objects. If an angry driver throws an object such as a water bottle at your vehicle, this is also regarded as road rage.
  • Hitting another vehicle. A common outcome of a road rage episode is that the angry driver ends up hitting the other vehicle. This may be in the form of pushing the other vehicle with the car, sideswiping the vehicle, ramming, or simply forcing the other driver off the road. All of these behaviors can pose a significant risk to the safety of the other vehicle’s occupants.
  • Flashing or using weapons. More rarely, a driver may become so enraged as to bring out a gun or another weapon and flash it at the other driver. In extreme cases, the furious driver may even fire at the other vehicle.

Most road rage behaviors are ticketable traffic offenses. In addition, if a road rage behavior causes a crash, criminal charges may be brought against the responsible driver. For instance, if road rage causes a fatal crash, the driver who caused the crash can be charged with murder.

How Can a Charlotte Car Crash Lawyer Help?

If you have been involved in an accident in Charlotte, North Carolina, we can help you. Here at Ted Greve & Associates, we help Charlotte crash victims hold the at-fault driver accountable. We also work with you to seek the maximum amount of damages for your car crash claim. In addition, if the other driver is guilty of wanton or reckless negligence, our lawyers can aid you in recovering punitive damages. Contact us today to discuss your car crash claim with our lawyers.