Road rage is a more extreme form of aggressive driving. It is important to understand the difference, especially if you have been the victim of road rage.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as – “When individuals commit a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons property.” Aggressive driving is a label for categorizing traffic violations and includes the following: tailgating, excessive speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, not stopping at red lights or stop signs.
Examples of Road Rage
Road rage, on the other hand, is a criminal offense, which carries more severe penalties. Road rage is an extreme form of aggressive driving, which involves a criminal act of violence.
Aggressive driving that escalates to the extreme range is considered road rage. When an obviously upset driver is angry and demonstrates violent behaviors against another, the driver is committing a criminal offense.
Examples of road rage include actions such as:
- intentionally driving in an unsafe or bullying manner,
- extreme and unnecessary tailgating,
- verbal abuse and shouting,
- making offensive gestures,
- throwing projectiles at the other car or pedestrian, and
- waving a gun.
When the intentional actions of an enraged motorist injure or kill another motorist, passenger, pedestrian, or property, the results can be physically, mentally and medically overwhelming.
If you have been the victim of road rage or aggressive driving, you may be entitled to compensation.
Determining Liability in Road Rage Cases
The NHTSA clarifies that road rage is not a specific chargeable offense. But rather, road rage is a description of a general set of behaviors attributed to aggressive driving.
In most states, road rage is considered an act of assault and battery and typically requires you to press charges.
The line between aggressive driving and road rage can be gray, and not all occurrences of aggressive driving are the act of making a conscious choice or decision.
For example, while speeding is often involved in road rage, it isn’t necessarily always endangering others, so the act of speeding cannot be defined as “road rage.”
Victims of road rage are far better off contacting a lawyer experienced in personal injury cases who can easily determine liability and the proper course of action.
Restitution for Road Rage Victims
Criminal prosecution by the local government court authorities for road rage victims can be limited, and so can the amount of compensation. The criminal court’s main goal is only the specific traffic law violated.
A lawyer who specializes in car accidents can get you restitution above your medical and repair bills associated to the incident. Punitive damages are frequently sought and awarded to serve as a deterrent for repeat offenders.
An experienced car accident attorney can guide you through the case in civil court where additional punitive damages can be included and where the burden of proof is less than it is in criminal courts.
What to Do During a Road Rage Incident
When confronted with road rage, there are several steps you can take to avoid a driving assault.
- Keep your doors locked while you are driving.
- When traffic stops, be sure to leave room to pull out from behind the car you are following.
- Don’t retaliate against another driver’s rude behavior. This includes avoiding eye contact.
- If you feel confronted by an aggressive driver, drive straight to the nearest police station.
- Do not carry any weapons in your vehicle.
Above all, be patient and pay attention to your surroundings. Driving well also means driving courteously. Remember that everybody makes mistakes.
Following the steps above can help you to avoid confrontation with an angry driver, but if you have been the victim of road rage, your best course of action is to seek the advice of an experienced auto accident attorney.