What Are Some Common Causes of Road Rage Accidents?

Road rage accidents are a dangerous and increasingly common phenomenon on our roadways. These incidents typically involve aggressive or violent behaviors exhibited by drivers, which can escalate and lead to accidents. The statistics regarding aggressive and raging drivers are alarming:

  • A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the U.S.
  • In 2022, someone was shot and killed in a road rage incident every 16 hours.
  • Sixty-six percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
  • There has been a 500 percent increase in reported cases of road rage over the last 10 years.

Road rage accidents come in various forms, each posing risks to the safety of all road users. The following are some of the most common. If you have been injured in an aggressive driving crash, contact a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer for legal assistance.

Tailgating Accidents

Tailgating occurs when one driver follows another vehicle too closely and aggressively. This behavior can lead to accidents if the driver in front suddenly brakes or reduces speed. Tailgating accidents often result in rear-end collisions, which can cause damage to vehicles and injuries to the occupants.

Aggressive Overtaking or Cutting Off

Aggressive drivers may attempt to overtake other vehicles abruptly or cut them off without sufficient space. These maneuvers increase the risk of side-swipe accidents and collisions when drivers are forced to brake suddenly to avoid a crash.

Intentional Brake Checking

Some aggressive drivers engage in brake checking, where they intentionally slam on their brakes in front of another vehicle, causing the following driver to rear-end them. Brake checking can lead to rear-end collisions and is a dangerous form of road rage.

Swerving or Weaving Through Traffic

Aggressive drivers often weave in and out of lanes or make sudden swerving movements to pass slower vehicles. These actions can lead to side collisions if they misjudge the space between vehicles or fail to signal their intentions adequately.

Aggressive Passing on the Shoulder

Drivers experiencing road rage may resort to passing other vehicles by driving on the shoulder of the road, especially in congested traffic. This reckless behavior can lead to accidents involving vehicles on the shoulder or merging back onto the road.

Chasing and High-Speed Pursuits

In extreme cases of road rage, drivers may engage in high-speed pursuits, chasing other vehicles aggressively. These dangerous pursuits can lead to collisions, rollovers, or crashes when drivers lose control at high speeds.

Vehicle Ramming or Assault

In the most severe road rage incidents, drivers may intentionally ram into other vehicles or use their vehicles as weapons in an act of aggression. These violent actions can result in significant damage to vehicles and severe injuries or fatalities.

Confrontations and Altercations

Road rage incidents can escalate beyond vehicle collisions into physical confrontations between drivers. Altercations at the accident scene or in traffic can result in injuries and even criminal charges.

Aggressive Use of Horns and Light

Aggressive drivers may excessively honk their horns, flash their headlights, or engage in other aggressive behaviors to intimidate or harass other road users. While these actions may not directly cause accidents, they can contribute to a hostile driving environment.

Roadway Obstructions

Some drivers may rage by deliberately obstructing traffic, refusing to yield the right of way, or blocking other vehicles. These actions can lead to traffic jams, frustrated drivers, and, in some cases, accidents as drivers attempt to navigate around the obstruction.

What to Do If You Encounter an Aggressive Driver

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being pursued or harassed by an aggressive driver, the best course of action is to avoid confrontation and ensure your safety. Do not engage with the aggressive driver, maintain a safe following distance, and consider contacting law enforcement to report the incident.

Unfortunately, even these steps may not de-escalate the situation, resulting in an accident and injuries. If you have been injured in a crash caused by an aggressive driver, contact Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to meet with one of our skilled Virginia Beach car accident attorneys to find out what legal recourse you may have. Our firm has successfully represented many clients who have been injured in aggressive driving crashes and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve, like the $1 million insurance settlement we obtained for one client who suffered massive injuries to his feet, ankles, and legs when another driver refused to yield the right of way.