We’ve all experienced road rage from time to time. We accidentally cut off the driver because we didn’t see him, and we get the finger in return. Or we are driving slower than the person behind us would like and we start getting brights in our rearview mirror. Sometime, we may even be the person engaging in road rage – though we might normally think of ourselves as reasonable people and safe drivers.
Road rage isn’t just a matter of being rude to other drivers. It can escalate and result in serious accidents that can lead to life-changing injuries. Here are four things that a Mesa injury lawyer wants you to know about road rage:
What Road Rage Is
Most road rage involves relatively innocuous behaviors, like people yelling inside their cars, honking their horns, or making rude gestures. If you aren’t paying attention, you may not even notice that someone has done any of these things.
Sometimes, those relatively harmless behaviors can trigger someone else to do something more aggressive, or some drivers can just start out more aggressively when they are triggered. Some more severe road rage behaviors that can lead to accidents include:
While drivers are engaged in these or other road rage activities, they can engage in other reckless driving, such as speeding, running stop signs or red lights, or disregarding pedestrians and other vehicles.
Road Rage Increases the Risk of Accidents
Road rages can lead to accidents in a number of ways. To start, you aren’t thinking clearly when you are angry, and that means that you aren’t going to make good judgements behind the wheel. You aren’t as likely to notice obstacles, and your reaction time isn’t going to be as quick. You can also become distracted by trying to see what the other driver is doing and how they are responding to you.
Of course, anger can also cause you or others to behave erratically. Running red lights and stop signs, speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and following too closely are all common in road rage incidents, and they are all dangerous driving behaviors.
How to Avoid Raging Drivers
You may become angry when someone starts yelling at you or honking their horn – especially if you don’t believe that you were in the wrong. You may feel the impulse to yell or gesture in return or to slow down so that the person can’t pass you. Don’t engage at all. Avoid responding to the raging driver or taking any retaliatory measures. Doing any of these things can escalate the situation to very dangerous levels.
The best thing you can do when someone has directed their road rage at you is to get out of the way. Pull to the opposite lane, or even pull off the road completely. It is better to be safe than to be right. Be sure to always pull off somewhere that is well-lit and well-populated. Some raging drivers will stop and want to confront you personally. If you need to, call the police and stay in your vehicle until they arrive.
How to Tame Your Own Road Rage
You don’t want to be the one that begins a road rage incident or that escalates one. If you do get into an accident, you can be held partly liable for it if you were engaging in the reckless or distracting behavior yourself. Try to always remain calm when you are behind the wheel and to maintain perspective: Who cares if that person is yelling at you if you know you’re right and you’re never going to see the person again?
Limit your own irritability behind the wheel by giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Listen to calming music or sounds while you’re in the car. If you feel the urge to react to something, imagine that you are being watched by your children – or even by a panel of jurors. If you think you are being judged, you are more likely to respond appropriately.
If you are in an accident caused by road rage, you should pull to a safe spot and call the police from inside your vehicle. Refrain from engaging with the person until the police are there, and even then, you should keep a safe distance. Use your phone to videotape the person while you are waiting for the police to come. If you are able to document the person’s behaviors, it may help your case. Once the report is filed, call a Mesa injury attorney to discuss your rights and your next steps.
Mesa Injury Lawyers is ready to help you after your accident involving road rage. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damage to your personal property, and we’re prepared to help you get it. Our personal injury attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and helping you get the compensation you deserve to heal after the accident. Call us in Mesa today to talk with one of our personal injury lawyers about your accident.