Road rage is a serious problem that can have very serious consequences.
Twice this year in Missouri we have seen road rage taken to the extreme. An August incident ended with the offending driver taking his own life before being questioned by the police, while an incident in June escalated to the point where one of the drivers involved resorted to shooting the other. While these are not typical cases, rage can easily escalate to cause a motor vehicle accident.
Merriam-Webster defines road rage as:
a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior”.
Surveys show that the most common “irritating acts” are tailgating, not using a signal, cell phone use, and honking the horn. They claim that certain triggers such as being rushed or stuck in traffic escalate feelings of rage. Men, particularly those in their 20’s, seem to be the drivers who are most susceptible to rage outbursts while driving.
It is estimated that at least 1,500 people are injured or killed in a road rage incident each year. A Missouri woman was left with facial scarring and a broken leg after the car she was a passenger in crashed due to a drivers’ road rage episode. The extent of her injuries caused the defense to agree to a $285,000 settlement.
What to Do If You Are Involved
If you are involved in a road rage accident seek the advice of a car accident lawyer. Often times there is a criminal act of violence related to road rage. Some of the most noted behaviors are:
- aggressive tailgating
- head light and high beam flashing
- obstructing the movement of another vehicle
- pursuing another vehicle and or forcing them off of the road
- sudden braking
All of these actions can lead to a serious accident. Since there is an obvious negligence in a road rage accident, and the defendant driver willfully acted in a matter that could cause bodily harm, punitive damages may come into play if your accident claim goes to trial. Juries use punitive damages as a way to further punish a defendant financially and is most often seen in cases where a defendant acted recklessly and without regard to human life.
Being confronted by an overly enraged driver can be a scary experience and a situation that drivers should try and avoid. If you notice another motorist is acting aggressively towards you, do not react. Stay in control of your own emotions and remain calm. Don’t turn the situation into a game of who can aggravate who the most. Even a quick tap on the horn can be interpreted as aggressive to a driver who is already in a fit of rage. If the behavior persists or worsens, continue to drive as safely as possible and use your cell phone to notify police.
Contact The Hoffmann Law Firm at (314) 361-4242 or online.
We all make mistakes driving at some point or another that may anger another motorist. Unfortunately at times that motorist may take things to an extreme level and an accident may result. If you or someone close to you was injured in a road rage accident, talk over the details of the accident with a St. Louis car accident lawyer at The Hoffmann Law Firm. Chances are the driver will be held accountable and you will be compensated.
photo credit: ImNotQuiteJack