How Dangerous Is Road Rage?

Most people experience frustration on the roadway. This is a normal response to unpleasant road conditions, but it can also serve as a precursor to road rage. When drivers act on their frustration using aggressive gestures, language, and driving practices, they have road rage. If you or someone you love is ever injured in an accident that was caused by an over-aggressive driver or a driver with road rage, don’t hesitate in contacting an experienced San Diego auto accident lawyer for help.
What Makes Road Rage Dangerous?
The size and power of a vehicle make road rage more dangerous than other displays of anger. People who give into this phenomenon may use their vehicles as weapons and put lives in danger. They can precipitate serious accidents both purposefully and negligently.
Common levels of road rage include:

  • Minor road rage. Verbally insulting other drivers, thinking about violence towards another driver, throwing your hands up, and making rude gestures are all signs of extreme frustration or minor road rage. If drivers are not aware of their behaviors, these acts can progress into more dangerous forms of road rage.
  • Escalating road rage. Threatening other drivers on the roadway, honking your horn out of anger (often repeatedly), and flashing your lights at other drivers can indicate that you have a serious problem with road rage. These behaviors, while not overtly violent, can result in confrontations and distract you and other drivers from safe driving habits.
  • Aggressive road rage. Aggressive road rage is dangerous for everyone on the road. When you tailgate, speed, weave in and out of traffic quickly and erratically, and ignore the rules of the road, you are physically creating a dangerous situation. This type of behavior can cause serious auto accidents. Some of the more common types of accidents that are the result of road rage, include: Motorcycle accidents, hit and run accidents, rear-ended accidents, distracted driving collisions, drunk driving crashes, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents, speeding accidents, bicycle accidents, and more.

Why Do People Experience Road Rage?
The road is a melting pot of people from all walks of life. Stress, anger about another personal situation, and feeling disrespected on the road way (being cut off, not being able to change lanes, getting stuck behind a slow driver, etc.) are all possible reasons why people experience road rage. Understanding individual triggers is the key to finding a way to minimize the experience of road rage.
If you recognize these signs in yourself, think about your behaviors from a big picture perspective. At best, you may end up with a ticket for speeding or reckless driving. At worst, you could cause a fatal accident resulting in the wrongful death of your own or someone else’s loved ones. Try these tips to reduce your own experience of road rage:

  • Look for other outlets to channel the anger you feel so you can remain calm on the road. For some people, playing calming music or exercising every day reduces anger levels.
  • Practice compassion. We all have bad driving days on occasion. If you can walk in someone else’s shoes for a moment, you may feel your anger start to ease. You never know when someone has had a really tough day or simply made a mistake.

Avoiding Aggressive Drivers on the Road
If you know how to stay calm on the road, kudos to you. You are making the road a safer place. When you see drivers behaving aggressively, use these tips:

  • Give the aggressive driver room. Change lanes if you can, and get out of an aggressive driver’s way.
  • Lock your doors. If you are in a high traffic situation, lock your doors and call the police if you feel as though you are facing an immediate threat.
  • Avoid reacting. Do not engage with an aggressive driver visually or verbally. Stay calm and drive safely and confidently. If you did make a driving mistake, correct your behavior and move on.
  • Clearly indicate your driving behaviors. Use your turn signal and only engage your horn if you encounter a safety concern.

Road rage is unfortunately common and can involve acts of violence above and beyond unsafe driving behaviors. If you ever feel threatened, contact the authorities immediately. If you were injured in a case involving an aggressive driver, the team of San Diego personal injury attorneys at Estey & Bomberger, LLP can help. For a free initial legal consultation with one of our experienced and successful accident lawyers in San Diego, CA, contact us today!