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Road rage: The hidden hazard on our highways

On Behalf of | May 20, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When you merge onto the bustling roads of Virginia, you’re not just sharing the pavement with other commuters; you’re also encountering a less visible but very real threat of road rage. This aggressive behavior, often triggered by stress related to driving or external pressures, can escalate quickly and have severe consequences.

Why does road rage occur? It’s common for you to feel the strain of a ticking clock during your daily commute. This stress can boil over into impatience and frustration. Add in the mix of congested traffic and the occasional reckless driver, and you might find yourself, or others, succumbing to road rage.

Three road rage behaviors that can lead to accidents

Road rage behaviors are not just distressing – they’re dangerous. Here are three common actions by aggressive drivers:

  • Speeding is a common manifestation of road rage. It’s also a leading factor in car accidents, contributing to 26% of all traffic fatalities.
  • Illegal maneuvers, such as improper lane changes or turns, account for a significant number of accidents each year, often because they catch other drivers off guard, leading to collisions.
  • Tailgating is another aggressive driving behavior that increases the risk of rear-end collisions. The closer you follow the car in front of you, the less time you have to react if they brake suddenly.

While these behaviors may represent a small percentage of total accidents – road rage is involved in 1% of fatal crashes – the ripple effects of aggressive driving are felt across the roadway, creating a hazardous environment for all.

Identifying and avoiding drivers exhibiting road rage

So, what are the signs of road rage? You might notice a driver honking incessantly, making aggressive hand gestures or changing lanes erratically. Here’s what you can do to stay out of harm’s way:

  • Keep your distance: The safest action is to put distance between you and them. Allow them to pass you or gently adjust your speed to create a buffer zone.
  • Stay calm and collected: Remaining calm is crucial. Avoid making eye contact or responding to any provocations.
  • Do not engage: Resist the urge to retaliate with your own horn, gestures or aggressive driving. Escalating the situation could lead to a more dangerous outcome.
  • Record and report the incident: If it’s safe to do so, and without compromising your attention to the road, document the aggressive behavior with your vehicle’s dash cam or have a passenger take notes or video. Next, call authorities when you are in a safe location.

Knowing the laws can help you understand your rights and responsibilities. If another driver’s actions injure you, you may be entitled to seek compensation. It’s advisable to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to protect your rights and maximize compensation.