Road Rage Accidents on the Rise
What happens when a car accident…isn’t an accident?
Today, we’re discussing the alarming rise in road rage accidents happening across the United States. We’re looking at what road rage is, what to look out for, and what your options are if you’re injured in an accident caused intentionally by another driver.
With road rage accidents up a whopping 500 percent over the past 10 years, it’s important to be prepared. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about road rage accidents.
Why Is Road Rage So Common?
Most of us have felt frustrated while driving at some point or another. Whether it’s a traffic jam or another driver cutting you off, it’s natural to feel anger. In fact, according to 2016 statistics from the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 80% of polled drivers admitting to expressing anger on the road.
That said, the response to feeling anger can vary dramatically. While some people might honk their horn in annoyance and then get over their anger, others can fly into a rage and end up harming others.
The same poll mentioned above found that:
- 51% of respondents tailgate on purpose
- 47% yell at the other driver
- 45% honk
- 33% make angry gestures
- 24% prevent another car from changing lanes or merging
- 12% cut off another car on purpose
- 4% exit their own car to confront the other driver
- 3% bump or hit another car intentionally
While 3-4% doesn’t seem like too many drivers, consider the high number of drivers on the road today. Three percent is actually close to six million drivers!
As you can see, anger on the road is strikingly common. There are a number of reasons why that’s the case. General life stress—from job issues, to relationship problems, to money woes—can contribute to angry driving. What’s more, lack of sleep, drug use, and anger management issues can contribute to why someone might snap in traffic.
How to Prevent Road Rage Accidents
You can’t control the behavior of other drivers. (Though we all wish we could!) However, what you can do is control your own behavior and look out for the signs of road rage-ready drivers.
First and foremost, it’s important to drive defensively. Driving defensively isn’t just about obeying the rules of the road. It also includes the following:
- Stay focused: Avoid distracted driving, like texting, talking on the phone, eating, or applying makeup while driving. Defensive driving requires you to be focused on the task at hand and the road.
- Don’t assume the best-case scenario: Sure, it might legally be your right of way, but don’t assume that the other car is going to let you in. Drive as though it’s possible that another car might cut you off, run the stop sign, or prevent you from changing lanes (because it is possible).
- Don’t speed: Speeding is a factor in many crashes. It increases your stopping distance—increasing the odds you’ll hit the car in front of you, and it lowers the amount time you have to react to others.
- Maintain a safe following distance: Make sure to stay 3-4 seconds behind the car in front of you—or more, if it’s dark, rainy, or snowy.
- Be on the lookout for potential problems: Stay aware of your surroundings, including the road and the cars around you. When you pay attention to the behavior of the other drivers around you, you can avoid dangerous situations.
Second, it’s a good idea to watch for the signs of road rage. No one can predict the future, of course, but you can stay alert to aggressive behavior from other drivers. Before a road rage incident, many drivers are seen acting aggressively: tailgating, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, cutting other cars off, and engaging in other unsafe driving behaviors. If you see another car doing any of the above, it’s best to give them a wide berth.
How to Respond to Road Rage
Sometimes, you’ve done all you can, but you still find yourself the victim of a road rage incident. In this case, here are a few important tips:
- Don’t escalate or react strongly. Instead of matching the other driver’s anger, remain calm. Avoid eye contact.
- Don’t yell or gesture angrily. This can help defuse the situation before things get worse.
- Protect yourself. If you are parked, stay in your car with your windows rolled up. Don’t exit your car. If the other driver is following you, keep driving at a normal speed and avoid stopping. If you feel unsafe, drive to a public place like a hospital or fire department.
- Call the police. Finally, in emergency situations, don’t hesitate to dial 911 or drive to the nearest police station.
What to Do after a Road Rage Accident
We hope you never have to deal with a road rage accident. However, if this happens to you, know that you have options.
If you are injured in an incident intentionally caused by another driver, you can hold them responsible for their actions. The personal injury lawyers at Casper & Casper are here to help.
To learn more about your legal options, call us today for a free consultation.