The reasons for car crashes are numerous and range from malfunctioning car parts and negligent driving to poor weather conditions and defective roads. While these are relatively well-known dangers, many are unaware that thousands of people are also injured every year as a result of road rage. Drivers exhibiting aggressive behavior can be extremely dangerous, so if you are a South Carolina resident and were recently injured in an accident caused by a driver with road rage, it is important to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can help you seek the compensation you deserve.
Road Rage Defined
Road rage is a term used to describe violent behavior exhibited by a driver and stemming from his or her uncontrolled anger at the actions of another person on the road. Often, road rage is exacerbated by drug or alcohol use, environmental factors, such as traffic, and outside stressors related to work or home life. The most common examples of road rage exhibited by drivers include:
- Purposefully hitting another vehicle;
- Running another car off the road;
- Pulling over and attempting to engage in a physical confrontation with another driver; and
- Using a weapon to inflict harm on another driver or car.
Often road rage begins as simple aggressive driving, which can include any of the following actions:
- Cutting other drivers off;
- Failing to use turn signals prior to changing lanes;
- Verbally abusing other drivers;
- Brake checking; and
- Flashing headlights.
By exhibiting these types of behaviors, drivers risk inspiring road rage in others, which can have devastating consequences.
Reacting to Road Rage
Being in a vehicle near a driver who is obviously struggling with road rage can be frightening. Fortunately, there are a few ways to diffuse these types of situations, including:
- Staying calm;
- Keeping your eyes on the road as eye contact is often seen as a sign of aggression by other drivers;
- Failing to react if another driver verbally abuses you or attempts to engage in an altercation;
- Keeping your window rolled up and your doors locked;
- Waving to the other driver or apologizing for cutting them off or tailgating etc. even if you are not at fault;
- Allowing plenty of room for the other driver to pass;
- Refraining from getting out of the car;
- Avoiding pulling off onto side streets;
- Staying on well-lit and well-traveled roads where there are multiple witnesses;
- Finding a busy public place, such as a shopping mall parking lot to pull over;
- Calling the police if you believe that the other driver poses an imminent threat to your safety;
- Writing down the car’s make, model, and license plate number; and
- Filing a police report in especially serious cases.
Staying calm can be difficult when faced with another angry driver traveling at high speeds. However, it is very important to focus on relaxing behaviors, which can keep a driver from retaliating. If you find that you are the target of road rage, try to keep your own emotions in check by doing the following:
- Recognizing your feelings and driving defensively;
- Trying to make yourself more comfortable by turning on the air conditioning to cool off or adjusting your seat position;
- Taking a drink of water or chewing a piece of gum;
- Taking a series of deep breaths;
- Remembering your priorities, which could include family members or children; and
- Being tolerant and forgiving of the mistakes of others.
Whatever tools a driver uses to cope with another person’s road rage, it is always of the utmost importance to avoid confronting the other driver, whether verbally, through hand signals, or by exiting the car to address him or her personally. Confronting a driver with road rage has had tragic consequences for many drivers who have suffered injury, vehicle damage, and even death as a result.
How an Experienced South Carolina Car Accident Attorney Can Help
In some cases, not much can prepare someone for sudden road rage exhibited by another driver. However, if you are the victim of road rage, there are some steps you should take to help deescalate the situation. If, despite the implementation of these tools, you were injured as a result of another person’s road rage, and you live in or near Clinton, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, or North Charleston, please contact the Joye Law Firm by calling (877) 936-9707 or by completing one of our standard contact forms and a member of our dedicated legal team will help you schedule a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate your case.