Whether faceless behind a computer screen or the wheel of a car, feeling anonymous can drive people act irrationally or sometimes combative. From internet bullying to road rage, acts of aggression are dangerous to both the perpetrator and those around them. And when the aggressor is in control of a several thousand-pound vehicle, a single act of road rage can have deadly consequences.
Encounters With Aggressive Drivers
Road rage is an everyday occurrence for most drivers. From screaming at other vehicles to following too closely and cutting others off, aggressive driving is not only rude but dangerous. Burning off steam with reckless driving might offer a moment of instant gratification but in reality, it jeopardizes lives.
When you’ve been hurt by another’s wrong behavior, the injustice is great – but you have rights. We have stood alongside countless victims of reckless driving over the years and fought for the just compensation and recompense they deserve.
What Is Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is a traffic offense or combination of offenses that can include speeding, tailgating and making unsafe lane changes.
On the other hand, road rage more specifically occurs when a traffic incident escalates into a more serious situation due to the overreaction of one or more of the drivers. For example, a person may become so enraged over an aggressive driving incident that they retaliate violently. This may include physical confrontation, or assault with a vehicle or a weapon.
More Dangerous Than You Think
You have probably had an incredibly rude driver pass you screaming while making obscene gestures. Maybe you were not going the exact speed they wanted you to. Possibly they were upset because you did not make a lane change as fast as they wished. Although these enraged drivers are inconsiderate, their acts are an annoyance that at worst puts you in a bad mood. Sadly, road rage can have far more serious consequences, and can be deadly.
In the news for April 2016: A recent fatal road rage incident that made national news was the death of former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith. The well-respected athlete was shot and killed on April 9 in what police believe is a road rage incident. Mr. Smith’s wife Raquel was also shot in the leg during this violent and tragic encounter.
Road rage is a serious problem. In fact, the NHTSA reported that 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.
Aggressive driving is illegal. For citizens of Connecticut, it’s categorized under Connecticut’s Reckless Driving Law which states, “No person shall operate any motor vehicle on any public highway…recklessly, having regard to the width, traffic and use of such highway.”
If you’ve experienced an accident involving an aggressive driver, contact our team of road rage accident attorneys immediately. Don’t hesitate to take action. We know how to help.
If you have suffered loss or damage by someone else’s poor choices behind the wheel, you may be entitled to compensation. Find out more about whether you have a case by calling the negligent driving attorneys at The Flood Law Firm at 877.987.9LAW today. We’ll answer any questions you have and you’ll receive a no-cost, no obligation consultation.
A Possible Medical Basis for Road Rage
Why do some drivers get so easily worked up and others let small disturbances roll off their backs? Some doctors believe there may be a medical basis for road rage: Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED).
The National Institute of Health sponsored a study that looked at road rage in nearly 10,000 drivers. It was determined that about 5% to 7% of the subjects regularly exhibited violent road rage behavior. These numbers correlate with the estimated number of people in the general public with IED, leading to the theory that IED may be a cause of road rage.
People with IED are characterized by having outbursts that are way out of proportion to the situation at hand. These overreactions often result in somebody getting hurt or property being damaged.
The upside to being diagnosed with IED is that there is treatment. With the right medical intervention, people with this disorder can better control their anger and live more harmoniously with the rest of us.
If you have a tendency to get road rage – whether it is medical based or not – you should learn how to manage it. Since confrontation can escalate unpredictably and quickly, the best advice is to avoid confrontations on the road altogether.
If you tend to be on the receiving end of road rage, consider learning new driving habits that do not invoke other drivers’ ire. Dawdling in the fast lane, or inconsistently using your turn signal when switching lanes are habits that can irritate others on the road.
For those of us who neither have a habit of initiating or provoking road rage, keep up those solid defensive driving skills and that watchful eye that avoids confrontation!
Practice a Safe Following Distance
While road rage can be triggered by innocent driving habits, aggressive driving often precedes a road rage incident. One form of aggressive driving that is sure to anger just about any driver is tailgating.
Following too closely behind another vehicle, or tailgating, is very common and can have disastrous consequences. Besides possibly instigating a road rage incident, this poor driving behavior can cause a dangerous rear-end collision.
Connecticut law states that no driver should follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent. This includes taking into account the vehicle’s speed, the traffic, and road and weather conditions. When driving in less than ideal conditions or at speeds over 55 mph, the time and distance between vehicles should increase considerably.
State Tailgating Laws
You can be cited for tailgating violations whether or not it causes a collision. Two state laws prohibiting tailgating are: Violation of Connecticut General Statute 14-240 Vehicles to be Driven Reasonable Distance Apart, and 14-240a Vehicles to be Driven Reasonable Distance Apart with Intent to Harass/Intimidate. Each violation comes with a hefty $132 fine.
Above all, we want drivers to be safe on the road. We’re dedicated to helping those injured as a result of aggressive driving. Call us anytime to learn more about your legal options.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
While you can’t control how others act, you can control the way you react, and this can make all the difference when it comes to dealing with aggressive drivers. The tips below can help diffuse a situation with an out-of-control driver:
- Avoid eye contact: Locking eyes can enrage an aggressive driver. Look the other way and don’t acknowledge their attempts to get your attention.
- Ignore gestures: If a driver shows an obscene gesture, don’t reciprocate.
- When an aggressive driver is behind you: Stay where you are, and maintain a proper speed. Act naturally and avoid responding to or making eye contact with the driver.
- Put your pride aside: Do not challenge an aggressive driver by weaving, speeding or making other moves of counter aggression.
- Stay put: Do not pass unless absolutely necessary. Do not jump lanes without looking, and only change lanes when it is safe to do so.
- Get out of the way: Do not attempt to combat aggressive drivers. Change lanes and let them pass when safe to do so.
- Pull over and call for help: Call the police to report an aggressive driver or an impaired driver.
When Aggressive Driving Escalates Into Road Rage or an Accident
If you are involved in an accident caused by an aggressive driver or injured in an incident of road rage, follow the steps below:
- Stay calm.
- Do not provoke the situation; remain in your vehicle with your doors locked.
- Keep your seat belt fastened, and ensure passengers are also buckled in
- Avoid eye contact with the aggressive driver and maintain a safe distance.
- Take note of the aggressor’s license plate, description of the vehicle, and any details needed to identify the individual.
- Pull over to a safe place and call 911.
- Wait for help to arrive.
- Seek medical treatment for any injuries.
- Speak to an attorney experienced with accidents caused by negligent drivers.
- Remember that you are not alone – help is available.
Contact The Flood Law Firm Today
At The Flood Law Firm, we understand how the actions of another can devastate your life and those of your loved ones. Our is equipped with knowledge and experience with bringing negligent drivers to justice and holding them accountable for the losses they have caused others. If you have suffered damage or loss because of an aggressive driver, not only do we offer our sincere condolences – we offer a helping hand. Contact us today and we will help you determine if you have a case. Take advantage of a risk-free, no-obligation consultation by calling 877.987.9LAW. We want to help you get your life back in order.