Have you experienced an incident of road rage recently? Road rage is thought to be a leading cause of auto accident fatalities and serious injuries. If you are caught up in a road rage incident, is there anything you can do to ensure you are not harmed, and if you are injured because your vehicle is hit by the other driver, what can you do?
Definition of road rage
The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) defines road rage as behavior that a driver exhibits when he or she deliberately commits multiple traffic offenses in order to endanger the lives and/or property of others.
Another way of describing road rage is “aggressive driving.” Road rage can take many forms. It might be unnecessary hooting the horn, swearing, waving, giving the finger, shouting, facial signs, tailgating, swerving close to the affected vehicle, and in the most extreme cases, actual physical contact.
According to the NHTSA, driver error, or driver behavior, is responsible for a vast majority of traffic accidents (94%). It’s hard to put an accurate figure on the contribution that road rage behavior has, but the NHTSA estimates that it could be as high as two-thirds of all serious accidents.
Responding to aggressive drivers
Research suggests that many drivers exhibiting aggressive behavior have reasons for their behavior that have nothing directly to do with the conditions they are dealing with on a highway. It may be that they are stressed out at work, have marital or family problems or are genuinely emotionally or psychologically disturbed.
The immediate of a road rage incident may be when another driver cuts them off, drives too slowly, rides a bicycle, seems to be unsure about their intentions, or simply drives too close. It follows from this that if you drive in such a manner, or even use a bicycle on a shared road, you may experience road rage. However, even if you are the most careful driver who drives according to the conditions there is no guarantee that you won’t receive intimidating behavior from the odd aggressive driver.
Advice from the AAA is that you should try and ignore aggressive drivers and the intimidation you may receive from them. There may be a temptation to respond in kind, but the likelihood is that the incident could quickly escalate and result in more serious injuries. Advice is to avoid eye contact, keep as calm as possible, keep as much distance as possible between you and the aggressive driver, and if necessary get help or back up from nearby motorists. If it looks as if the aggressive driver is trying to be physically aggressive, you should call the police.
What to do if injured in a road rage incident
If you are injured by an aggressive driver, even if the driver is eventually charged with reckless driving, you may have the right to make a personal injury claim against the driver. Personal injury claims are not easy to make as a proof is necessary to substantiate your claim. The fact that an aggressive driver is charged with a traffic offense would certainly help your case. Eyewitnesses who saw what happened and are prepared to testify that they saw how you were injured will prove invaluable in any personal injury claim.
It is difficult to succeed in a road rage claim unless you get legal help from an experienced car accident attorney. In Jackson, Mississippi, you should contact the Diaz Law Firm or call us at 601-607-3456 for a no strings attached free consultation.