How to Handle Drivers With Road Rage

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Posted By | June 5, 2023 | Car Accidents

Studies show that road rage is a persistent and growing problem in the United States, increasing notably since the pandemic. A study reported by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked at over 10,000 road rage incidents resulting in 12,610 injuries and 218 murders in a 7-year period in the U.S.

Road rage incidents not only cause accidents, injuries, accidental deaths, and murders, but they often leave victims with severe trauma. According to law enforcement agencies in Texas, road rage goes beyond aggressive driving. While aggressive drivers engage in risky behaviors, their goal is typically to get to their destination quickly. Drivers who engage in road rage are seeking revenge for a perceived driving offense on someone else’s part and are often set on causing physical harm to others.

Understanding road rage and knowing the best way to handle an encounter with a driver exhibiting signs of road rage can help to remove you and your loved ones from a high-risk situation before you are injured.

What to Do Before Road Rage Becomes a Danger

According to driver surveys, those who engage in road rage behaviors indicate that the same problems are consistent triggers of aggression. Long delays and heavy traffic may contribute to road rage in a way that you aren’t able to control, but you can help avoid triggering dangerous road rage behaviors from other drivers by avoiding the following actions on the road:

  • Cutting other drivers off in traffic
  • Driving slowly in the left lane
  • Tailgating
  • Using angry or obscene gestures

Though engaging in any of the above driver behaviors does not mean you deserve to become a victim of road rage, by being a courteous and cautious driver and carefully following traffic laws, you minimize your risk of becoming the target of an outraged and irrational driver.

Avoiding a Road Rage Accident

No matter how carefully and courteously you drive, it’s still possible to become the target of an outraged driver. If you find that another driver is engaging in any of the following behaviors, it’s time to make avoiding an accident or purposeful harm by an irate driver your top priority:

  • Excessively honking
  • Making rude or obscene gestures
  • Rolling down their window to yell or swear at you
  • Tailgating you or repeatedly dropping back and then speeding up close to the rear of your vehicle
  • Cutting you off or refusing to allow you to merge
  • Pulling in front of you and slamming on their brakes

In some extreme incidents, drivers with road rage behaviors may run you off the road, purposely crash into your vehicle, or get out of their car to threaten or physically attack you. If a driver sharing the roadway with you engages in any of the above behaviors, do the following:

  • Apologize by giving a quick wave and a smile, or mouthing, “sorry” to the irate driver even if you didn’t do anything wrong. Diffusing a dangerous situation is more important than being right
  • Change course or turn off the road and wait for them to leave the area before resuming your route
  • Texas is one of several states that have a road rage or aggressive driver reporting system. Use your phone to report a road-rage suspect by dialing 311. Be prepared to report the vehicle description, license plate number, location, and travel direction
  • Call 911 if you are being harassed, endangered, or attacked by a driver exhibiting signs of road rage

Often, drivers feel a sense of anonymity behind the wheel that leads them to engage in behaviors they wouldn’t normally attempt. Drivers with a history of road rage incidents are more likely to engage in dangerous and aggressive behaviors for a second time or repeatedly.

When a driver acts outside the boundaries of safe, courteous driving behaviors and targets you on the road, causing a car accident, you are entitled to justice and compensation for the damages they’ve caused.

For more tips on avoiding aggressive driving, read this safety brochure here.