As the pressures of modern life increase, aggressive driving and road rage are on the rise. To drive safely, you must know what to do when a driver behaves aggressively—and you must adjust your behavior if you find that you become aggressive on the road.
If you’ve been in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, call me at K.E. Bradley Attorney & Counselor at Law. I have extensive experience both as a mediator and litigator, and I can help you whether you want to resolve a dispute in mediation or take the case to court.
What Is Road Rage?
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, “road rage” is violent behavior involving a vehicle. Road rage is a criminal offense. Actions that fall under the “road rage” definition include:
- verbally threatening another driver
- cursing at another driver or using an obscene gesture
- hitting another vehicle on purpose
- running/attempting to run another driver off the road
- physically attacking another driver
There are many known causes of road rage. Some of these include:
- Time pressure: The driver may become enraged if they are running late and other motorists are not driving quickly enough for their taste.
- Anger issues: Some people have general anger-management problems which follow them onto the road.
- Stress response: Driving can be inherently stressful. This stress can increase if someone drives improperly—for example, if one driver cuts another driver off.
- Perceived privacy: Some drivers feel a false sense of security and privacy stemming from the fact that they are unlikely to see many drivers again and may believe that they can act in a dangerous manner without consequences.
What to Do If You Feel Road Rage
First, it is important to note that you should always leave ample time to get where you need to go. If you know you get angry when others drive slowly, you can eliminate that stressor by leaving early.
If you recognize that you want to take your anger out on another driver, consider pulling over onto the shoulder or any other safe place where you can sit quietly. Take deep breaths. Remind yourself that the anger you feel now is nothing compared to the trauma of an accident or the stress of an accident’s aftermath—including the possible jail time you could face.
What to Do If You Witness It
If another driver becomes aggressive with you, do not make eye contact or retaliate in any way. Give the driver room, allowing them to pass you if possible.
Road rage shootings are becoming more common in Texas; according to the New York Times, more people have been purchasing guns and discharging them during road rage incidents since the pandemic. Call 911 if you are concerned for your safety or the safety of others.
Understanding Aggressive Driving
The Texas Department of Transportation defines aggressive driving as “operating a vehicle in a way that endangers people or property.” Aggressive driving is the less extreme form of road rage; it is a moving violation rather than a criminal offense, but can still be punished by fines and jail time.
Aggressive driving behaviors can include:
- cutting other drivers off
- running stop signs or red lights
- merging without signaling
The Dangers of Aggressive Driving
Not only is aggressive driving inherently dangerous as it can cause accidents, but it can lead to more aggressive driving or road rage (both for the aggressive driver and other motorists on the road). Aggressive drivers can add stress to the already potentially stressful activity of driving and can cause others to react poorly.
What to Do If You Witness It
If you see someone driving aggressively, follow the same protocol that you would if you encountered a driver exhibiting road rage (as outlined above). You can also call 311 to report a motorist who is not driving safely. (Of course, you should not hesitate to call 911 if it appears that someone’s safety is in danger or that someone has been hurt.)
Seek Trusted Legal Guidance
If you were injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver or a road rage incident, call me at K.E. Bradley Attorney & Counselor at Law, located in Missouri City, Texas, and also serving Sugar Land, Katy, Friendswood, Pearland, and Fresno. I can assist you with gathering evidence, filing a personal injury claim, and making your case to the court. Don’t wait to get the representation you need. Call me today for an appointment.