Road Rage, Aggressive Driving, and Summer Holidays
Sunburns and BBQ flare-ups aren’t the only things you have to worry about this Memorial Day; be wary of road rage and aggressive driving as more and more travelers pack the highways during the upcoming holiday. If you or someone you love has been injured as a result of road rage or aggressive driving, contact the Missouri personal injury lawyers at The S.E. Farris Law Firm. Call 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) for a free consultation.
Over half of all drivers claim to have been victims of road rage, and even more say they’ve witnessed a road rage incident. As the mercury rises, so does the number or drivers on the road, and accordingly, so do their tempers. Between packed cars, congested roadways, and blistering heat, our nations’ highways become a maelstrom of rage and aggression.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Defined
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as occurring when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” These offenses may include speeding, failing to yield right of way, tailgating, weaving, and/or disobeying traffic control devices such as stop signs and traffic lights.
The Missouri Driving Manual defines road rage as “an uncontrolled display of anger by the operator of a motor vehicle (usually in response to another driver’s actions), which can result in property damage or personal injury.” Signs of road rage include excessive honking; flashing headlights; forcing a driver off the road or to pull over; tailgating, swerving at, cutting-off, or bumping another vehicle; verbal abuse and/or threatening gestures; assaulting or threatening to assault another driver; and/or causing damage to another vehicle.
Road Rage v. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving and road rage may seem similar (and are often used interchangeably), but there are distinct and important differences between them. Aggressive driving is a combination of traffic offenses, whereas road rage is a criminal offense.
People usually exhibit signs of aggressive driving when they are running late, stuck in traffic, or are “inconvenienced” by a driver in front of them not going as fast as the aggressive driver would like. For example, an aggressive driver stuck in rush hour traffic may use the shoulder as a passing lane. This could potentially startle other drivers into taking evasive action, and thereby cause an aggressive driving-related accident.
Road rage, however, occurs when an aggressive driving or other traffic-related incident escalates into a much more grievous situation. A driver may become so infuriated by this that he or she retaliates with violence (through verbal or physical confrontation) to assault or attempt assault with a motor vehicle. Road rage can be cause by any number of roadway incidents, from small and unintentional, to openly aggressive.
Both types of behaviors are potentially deadly and are causing an increasing amount of public concern. In response, several states have enacted or are considering legislation to deal specifically with aggressive driving. It is important for law enforcement to help the public be able to identify and distinguish between both aggressive driving and road rage. Additionally, it’s important for you, the driver, to know what to do if you encounter this during holiday travel, the summer driving season, or any time you are on the road.
How to React to Aggressive Driving and Road Rage
If you encounter an aggressive driver, there are several steps you can take to try and mitigate the situation. First, get out of his or her way. The best tactic is avoidance, so if you can safely move out of an aggressive driver’s path by slowing down, changing lanes, or taking a different route, do so. Remain calm and don’t challenge an aggressive driver by making eye contact or retaliating with your own aggressive behavior. Finally, call the authorities; if an aggressive driver is putting you or other motorists at risk, pull over to a safe location and dial 911.
In the event of road rage, don’t engage the angered driver. Back off, give him or her space, and, if other drivers around you begin challenging the offending driver, change your route to avoid an accident. If your vehicles are at rest and a road raged driver approaches you, close the windows and lock your doors. If the driver is pursuing you, avoid leading them to your home or place of work. If there is a police station close by, this is your safest option; otherwise, navigate to a busy, open, public space like a shopping mall. Finally, phone police from a safe location, report as many details about the other driver that you can, and wait inside your car for an officer to respond.
Call an Attorney for Your Road Rage or Aggressive Driving Case
If you are the victim of road rage or aggressive driving, the most important step in building your case is proving fault. Your attorney will begin an immediate investigation into the case by collecting police reports, consulting with witnesses, reviewing medical documentation, examining traffic surveillance video, and working with experts to gather the necessary evidence for your claim.
The St. Louis Personal Injury Attorneys at the S.E. Farris Law Firm are experienced in road rage and aggressive driving accident claims involving personal, catastrophic, or fatal injuries. We will fight to get the compensation you deserve for your financial and personal losses, such as medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, wrongful death, long-term care, or mental anguish.
Contact a St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been hurt, or someone you love has been injured or killed, in an aggressive driving or road rage accident, contact the St. Louis Personal Injury Lawyers at The S.E. Farris Law Firm as soon as possible. Call 314-A-LAWYER (314-252-9937) today for a free consultation. The time to pursue a claim against a negligent driver is limited. It is important to contact an experienced Missouri personal injury attorney as soon as possible so that your rights are protected, and so an investigation into the circumstances surrounding your accident can be conducted.