Most of us have been in traffic situations where an incident occurs – maybe another driver cuts you off and jumps into your lane right in front of you, causing you to have to hit your brakes quickly – that has left us feeling aggravated or frustrated over the other driver’s action. In fact, incidents like these are so common that the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that approximately 80 percent of people have experienced anger or aggression while driving at least once.
Road rage often leads up to serious car crashes that leave victims injured or dead. This is why knowing how to handle road rage, as well as recognize it in other drivers, is critical to staying safe on the roads.
Defining Road Rage
Road rage is defined as any aggressive or violent action or behavior that is triggered by the acts or behavior of another driver. In many cases, the offending driver’s anger is not really a result of the other driver’s actions, but is a build-up of anger and frustration over something else they are dealing with in their life. Some of the more common examples of road rage we see hear at our Virginia car accident firm includes:
- A driver yells at another driver
- A driver makes angry gestures or blares their horn at another driver
- A driver pulls their vehicle over in order to confront another driver
- A driver slams their vehicle into another person’s car
- A driver runs another driver off the road
- A driver brandishes or uses a weapon against another driver
What Should You Do if You Encounter an Aggressive Driver?
Many situations of road rage began as aggressive driving that escalated. Knowing what the signs are of an aggressive driver can help you identify a vehicle you need to stay away from in order to avoid a crash. Some of the actions of an aggressive driver include:
- Brake checking (hitting brakes off and on for no reason)
- Cutting other vehicles off
- Failure to use turn signals
- Flashing their headlights
- Honking their horn
- Verbal insults at other drivers
If you are traveling near a driver who exhibits any of the above behaviors, it is important to not engage in any retaliatory behaviors against them, no matter how frustrating you may find their actions. Instead, take the following steps:
- Keep at a good distance from the other vehicle. If the driver is trying to pass you, let them pass. Change lanes or reduce your speed in order to put distance between your vehicle and theirs.
- If the driver is trying to get your attention by yelling, swearing, or other action, ignore them. Do not react or engage with them. Do not even make eye contact with them. Any reaction on your part could result in a dangerous escalation of the situation.
- Make a mental note of the vehicle and the driver. Try to get the vehicle plate number if you can do so safely. If you believe the driver is a danger to other vehicles on the road, report the information to the police.
Let a Virginia Car Crash Attorney Advocate for You
Unfortunately, even if you abide by the above information you may still end up in a road rage crash. If you have been injured in a car accident caused by an aggressive driver, contact a seasoned Virginia car accident attorney to find out what legal action you may be able to pursue against the other driver for your pain and loss. Contact Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn to find out what legal recourse you may have.
Our Va. personal injury law firm has successfully represented many clients who have been injured in aggressive driving crashes and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call our office today to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation and find out how we can help.