The driver who crossed three lanes, making you slam on your brakes – only for him to make a late left turn. The motorist who can’t seem to negotiate a right-hand turn from the right-most lane, making you wait for his imprecision. The bus driver who blasts through a fresh red light to stay on schedule.
They make you angry… sometimes, even to a point of rage.
In our last blog, we discussed the Golden Gate State having the worst drivers in the country. As a follow up to our last week’s blog, we will discuss one of the reasons as to why we are ranked as such.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is defined as aggressive or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at the actions of another motorist. One recent tragic example would be the motorcyclist caught on camera who kicked a sedan and then throttled away as an explosive, chain-reaction collision left two vehicles wrecked and one man injured.
Other examples include:
- Hitting another vehicle with your car.
- Running a vehicle off the road.
- Pulling over, getting out, and engaging in a physical confrontation.
- Inciting your passenger(s) to fight the other driver and/or passenger.
- Using any sort of weapon to inflict harm on another driver, passenger or vehicle.
Oftentimes, aggressive driving escalates road rage. Aggressive driving is an accumulation of illegal driving maneuvers, often resulting from emotional distress. If you find yourself getting angry and upset on the road, try to notice if you’re engaging in any of the following aggressive driving behaviors:
- Cutting others off
- Not using turn signals
- Mentally or verbally cursing other drivers
- Flashing your headlights
- Brake checking
If you find yourself driving aggressively, you need to take the necessary steps to make sure that it does NOT escalate into road rage.
Preventing Road Rage
Before driving, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you and/or other drivers won’t be tempted into road rage. Preventative measures you can take include:
- Listening to soothing music.
- Get into the mentality that you are sharing the road, and nobody’s perfect!
- Keep a good amount of space between yourself and other vehicles.
- Refrain from making prolonged eye contact or obscene gestures at other drivers.
- Diffusing Road Rage.
If you’ve upset another driver, it’s important to defuse the situation as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by showing remorse. You can do so by:
- Waving to the other driver.
- Mouthing that you’re sorry.
- Allowing plenty of room for them to pass you.
- Be the bigger person. This helps to keep everyone, including yourself, safe. Of course, you should always call the police if you believe you’re in imminent danger.
- When another upsets you, don’t make the situation more difficult. Before taking matters into your own hands, you should:
- Pull over to a safe location, out of the way of traffic.
- Take deep breaths—maybe even count backwards.
- Remember you have full control over your own actions and thoughts.
- Think about the consequences of your actions, should you contemplate exacting revenge on the other driver.
- By remaining calm and not taking other drivers’ actions personally, you can avoid legal repercussions and accidents.
Consequences of Road Rage
If a law enforcement officer catches you engaging in road rage, you can be charged with a criminal offense. This means that you will need to:
- Go to court.
- Pay legal fees and/or fines.
- Possibly face jail/prison time.
- For all of the time and money that you’ll end up losing, road rage is simply not worth it.
- In addition, you risk:
- Damage to your vehicle.
- Physical harm to yourself and your passengers.
A few moments of anger is NOT worth a life time of sorrow.
Always be aware, cautious and keep calm on the road.
Have a serious injury and need legal advice? Contact Howard Blau.
Please Be Sure to Read the Following References:
“Road Rage: How To Deal With It.” DMV.ORG. Retrieved 11 July 2017 from http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/road-rage.php
“L.A. Is America’s Worst City for Road Rage, One Study Finds.” LA Weekly. Retrieved 11 July 2017 from http://www.laweekly.com/news/la-is-americas-worst-city-for-road-rage-one-study-finds-6910803
“Road Rage Incident Caught On Camera.” CNN.com. Retrieved 11 July 2017 from http://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2017/06/23/road-rage-california-orig-bpb-vstan.cnn
“This is what happens when you lose control: Man who videotaped car-kicking motorcyclist speaks out.” Retrieved 11 July 2017 from http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-road-rage-video-santa-clarita-20170623-story.html