The term “road rage” is used a lot lately, even for simple things like someone cutting you off in traffic and yelling, or giving you a dirty look while speeding past. But not everything that people call road rage actually falls into that category from a legal standpoint. People are allowed to express displeasure behind the wheel, but how they do that and whether they try to harm someone in addition to their annoyance are significant factors in the road rage issue.
To stay safe on California roads, it is important to understand what road rage really is, what causes it, and what you should do if you find yourself in that type of situation.
What Exactly is Road Rage?
Essentially, road rage is aggressive driving, which can escalate to the point of causing risk of harm or even death to the angry driver and others around them. Things can happen on the road, and many of them are accidental. Intent should matter, but many drivers are not stopping to consider why another driver did something. Instead, they are just getting angry.
True road rage incidents are growing. According to AAA, nearly 80% of drivers have had at least one incident where they have been inappropriately aggressive or angry while behind the wheel. Another study conducted by AAA has shown that two-thirds of drivers in the United States think road rage is becoming a bigger problem than it was just three short years ago, and 90% of drivers feel other drivers who experience road rage are a big threat to safety.
Why Does Road Rage Happen?
Road rage happens for a lot of reasons. Some of it depends on where you live. California, for example, has six cities that are in the top 15 for road rage incidents in the US. Another reason for road rage is that people are often rushed and stressed out more now. People also get angry about the bad driving of others, including speeding, tailgating, cutting people off, weaving between lanes, driving too slowly, a lack of signaling, and many other issues. But controlling anger over things like that is important, especially when those actions can be honest mistakes.
What Should You Do in a Road Rage Situation?
If you find that a driver around you seems to be developing road rage, the best thing you can do is remove yourself from the situation if possible. Turn on a side street, take the next exit, or pull into a parking lot. Just be sure that the driver does not follow you, and if you are followed, you will want to go to a public place or a police station. Trying to settle things yourself with the other driver may not work, and could put yourself at an even greater risk of harm. Sometimes, though, getting away is not possible, and you will find yourself in an accident with a road rage driver.
Along with making sure you take care of medical concerns from that accident, remember that California has a statute of limitations for your injuries. You will want to explore the legal options you have based on the accident. Filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance company is important, but may not be enough. Instead, you may also need an attorney. Road rage is can be incredibly dangerous, and the number of fatal and non-fatal accidents caused by enraged drivers continues to grow.
If you have been injured in a California road rage accident, contact us at The Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill today. We are here to help by providing you information about the law and working through the particulars of your situation to see if pursuing a case against a road rage driver would make sense for you.
If you have a road rage injury case, our law office can help you move through the process of receiving a settlement or going to trial in an attempt to receive compensation that is fair and just based on your injuries.