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Road Rage and Road Traffic Accidents:
6 Defensive Driving Techniques

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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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Road rage is a growing concern on our roads as the number of aggressive drivers and dangerous motor vehicle crashes continue to rise. By understanding the causes and consequences of road rage, we can learn how to avoid them.

As a personal injury attorney with years of experience dealing with road rage cases, I will explore the connection between road rage and car accidents, the difference between road rage and aggressive driving, and what you should do if you are involved in a road rage incident.

Quick Summary

  • Road rage causes traffic accidents, and they are usually triggered due to aggressive behavior such as speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, and failure to use a safety belt.
  • Road rage is an extremely aggressive driving behavior that can hurt drivers and those around them.
  • Understanding the distinction between road rage and aggressive driving, practicing defensive techniques, and prioritizing safety are essential for reducing the risk of incidents.

Does Road Rage Cause Road Traffic Accidents?

A mad driver doing gestures outside his car windowYes, road rage does cause road traffic accidents. Maintaining the speed limit and obeying traffic laws can help reduce the risk of fatal crashes.

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 80% of American drivers reported experiencing extreme anger, aggression, or road rage while driving [1].

Driver anonymity, demographics, and certain personality traits have been identified as potential contributors to road rage, often involving traffic offenses.

Road rage is not a criminal offense. However, aggressive driving can result in a traffic ticket. Certain road rage behaviors can lead to criminal charges.

Causes Of Road Rage

A woman in her car showing road rage

Common causes of driving and road rage accidents include:

  • Environmental factors such as congested roads.
  • Psychological factors like displaced anger and high-life stress led the other driver to drive aggressively.
  • Irresponsible behavior of other drivers, such as driver inattention.

According to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding was the leading cause of fatal car accidents in 2019 [2].

The Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) has information on fatal crashes, including data on factors related to the driver and whether speeding was involved. Multiple driver-related factors can be reported for each vehicle in a crash.

According to the National Safety Council, more than half of vehicles involved in fatal crashes reported at least one driver-related factor [3].

The crash data reveals several factors commonly linked to fatal car crashes: speeding, impaired driving, distracted driving, and failing to use a safety belt.

Related Article: Using Headphones While Driving

The Difference Between Road Rage And Aggressive Driving

A guy who is angry while drivingAggressive driving is any unsafe driving conducted deliberately and is equally as fatal as road rage, contributing to 56% of fatal collisions.

Aggressive driving is defined as driving in an unsafe manner with the intent to endanger the other driver or pedestrians. 

In a recent four-year period, 106,727 fatal crashes accounted for 55.7 percent of the total, wherein drivers committed one or more aggressive driving actions [4].

Despite their similarities, there is a distinction between road rage and aggressive driving. Road rage is classified as a traffic offense or the use of a dangerous weapon that puts persons or property at risk, whereas aggressive driving is the most dangerous threat to one’s safety while on the road.

Related Article: Car Accident Lawsuit Update

Signs of Aggressive Driving

A man showing aggressive driving

Indications of aggressive driving include:

  • Speeding
  • Tailgating
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Illegal maneuvers
  • Flashing rude gestures
  • Passing on the right
  • Disregarding stop signs or red lights
  • Cutting off other drivers or ignoring the right of way
  • Utilizing the vehicle as a weapon

By recognizing these signs, we can be more aware of aggressive drivers on the road and take appropriate action to maintain our safety and those of others around us.

Related Article: Is It Illegal To Eat While Driving?

Defensive Driving Techniques

A calm woman doing defensive driving techniques

Defensive driving techniques involve:

  1. Maintaining concentration on the road
  2. Monitoring the environment
  3. Looking ahead
  4. Avoiding distractions
  5. Maintaining a safe following distance
  6. Being prepared to respond to unexpected events

By employing these techniques, you can minimize the likelihood of road rage incidents and ensure a safer driving experience for yourself and others.

“When your driving-related conduct endangers or injures someone or damages their property, that’s when you could find yourself facing criminal charges after a road rage incident.”
David Goguen, J.D., Member of the State Bar of California

What Should You Do If You’re Involved In A Road Rage Incident?

A man calling the authorities after being involved in a road rage incidentIf you are involved in a road rage incident, you should ensure the safety of yourself and others involved. The National Safety Council advises that you move to a secure location, contact the police station, and seek medical attention if necessary.

You must also avoid eye contact and establish a safe distance between yourself and the other driver.

Once safety has been addressed, it’s important to document the incident, gather photographic evidence of the accident site, and acquire as much supporting material as possible.

After documenting the incident, it must be reported to the relevant authorities. By doing so, you not only help bring the aggressive driver to justice but also contribute to a safer driving environment for everyone on the road.

Related Article: Steps to Take After a Fatal Car Accident

Does Auto Insurance Cover Road Rage Accidents?

Insurance does not cover road rage accidents caused by intentional road rage acts; however, Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured/Under-Insured (UM/UIM) coverage may assist.

PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages, while UM/UIM coverage compensates for damages inflicted by a driver with minimal or no insurance.

Road Rage Insurance Issues

A car insurance concept imageMany car insurance policies typically exclude coverage for road rage incidents, as they are considered intentional acts rather than accidents.

However, your insurance policy may provide coverage if you are a victim of an accident caused by another motorist’s road rage. Some insurance companies may offer additional coverage options specifically for road rage incidents.

If you are found guilty of traffic violations or other crimes after a road rage incident, your insurance company may have the right to suspend or terminate your coverage.

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FAQs

What Is The Most Common Cause Of Road Rage?

The most common cause of road rage is a combination of environmental factors, such as busy roads and traffic congestion, and psychological factors, such as displaced anger and high-life stress.

Will Any Insurance Cover Road Rage?

Yes, any insurance will cover road rage if the driver is found to be at fault. However, insurance coverage for road rage incidents depends on the circumstances.

Talk To A Personal Injury Lawyer Today

If you have been injured in a road rage accident, it’s essential to contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

A personal injury lawyer can assist you in obtaining compensation for your injuries from the other driver and help construct a solid case.

At Schmidt & Clark, LLP we can oversee your involvement in prosecution and guide you through the legal process.

Our attorneys are experienced litigators who have handled various cases, from minor misdemeanors to complex criminal issues.


References:

  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160714091346.htm
  2. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/motor-vehicle-safety-issues/speeding/#:~:text=2021%20is%20the%20third%20consecutive,most%20deaths%20recorded%20since%202007.
  3. https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/motor-vehicle-safety-issues/improper-driving-and-road-rage/#:~:text=National%20Safety%20Council%20(NSC)%20analysis,Careless%20driving%20%E2%80%93%207.5%25
  4. https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/speedmgt/ref_mats/fhwasa1304/resources2/38%20-%20Aggressive%20Driving%202009%20Research%20Update.pdf

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