There are a wide range of causes for South Carolina auto accidents, and among them are the effects of road rage and aggressive driving. This is so common that most drivers will encounter some form of aggressive driving or road rage in their lifetime, and many will be injured when they do. If you have been injured due to someone else’s inappropriate behavior while driving, contact The Jeffcoat Firm to schedule a free consultation and find out how we can help you recover compensation. Meanwhile, take some time to familiarize yourself with what road rage is and how to deal with it.
What Exactly is Road Rage?
Many people mistakenly define road rage as the terrible frustration that many people feel when they are dealing with heavy traffic and those who are not driving safely or properly. You have probably experienced this frustration yourself, and you may have complained out loud to yourself, or even yelled at the other driver despite the fact that they cannot hear you. Many people have done this, and it does not mean that you have road rage, though you may have called it that at the time.
Having said that, the fact that you acknowledged your frustration and then proceeded to drive safely anyway is a good indication that you were not exhibiting signs of road rage. Everyone gets angry, but not everyone endangers their lives and the lives of others in response to their frustration.
So, to clarify, road rage specifically refers to driving behavior that is aggressive and violent. If a driver experiences frustration, this is normal. If the frustrated driver then behaves in a manner that puts everyone at risk, with violent and aggressive actions, then this is road rage and it is inexcusable. Of course, this does not mean that there are not other factors at play, like alcohol, drugs, general stress in a person’s life, anger management issues, etc. It simply means that none of these factors constitute a valid excuse for road rage and unsafe driving behaviors.
What Unsafe Driving Behaviors Are Associated With Road Rage?
As we’ve pointed out, road rage does not refer to the anger and frustration that many drivers feel when they are dealing with traffic. Rather, it refers to driving behaviors that are aggressive and violent in response to those feelings. These unsafe driving behaviors can include a wide range of actions. Some examples include intentionally hitting another vehicle, intentionally running another vehicle off of the road, stopping their vehicle to start a physical fight with the driver of another vehicle, and employing weapons to harm another vehicle or the driver of another vehicle.
These are some of the most extreme forms of road rage and constitute the violent aspect of the definition of the term. Then, there are the examples of aggressive driving, which include cutting someone off, brake checking another vehicle, speeding, tailgating, honking at other drivers, changing lanes abruptly without signaling, and shouting at other drivers through the window. While these behaviors are not as extreme as the violent actions above, they can still cause serious and devastating accidents. Thus, it’s important to avoid road rage and respond appropriately when you encounter it.
How Should You Respond to the Road Rage of Other Drivers?
When you encounter aggressive and violent driving behaviors in a nearby driver who has road rage, you might be angry, afraid, or both. At this point, you need to keep your own emotions in check – especially if they involve being angry and frustrated yourself, and attempt to minimize the potential for harm. Responding to road rage with rage of your own will only make it worse, so the first thing to do is to remain calm. Depending on the situation, you might even be inclined to panic (such as if someone is coming at your vehicle with violent intentions). Again, the first thing to do is remain as calm as possible.
You should also avoid making eye contact with the other driver, as they may think this is a sign that you wish to engage in the conflict that the other driver perceives. If someone is shouting at you or coming at your vehicle, you should not respond to this. Rather, you should ensure that your windows are rolled up, that your doors are locked, and that you do not get out of your vehicle. Make sure that you allow the other driver enough room to pass and do not pull over if no accident has occurred. If an accident has occurred, then your response should be different than an ordinary accident, because you may be in further physical danger. Rather than getting out of your vehicle or communicating with the other driver, keep your windows up and your doors locked and call the police for help.
It is also wise to stay on roads that are well lit and busy with traffic, so that there are witnesses. If you must pull over, do so in a well populated area, like a parking lot with plenty of other vehicles. If you think that your safety is being threatened, then you should contact the police right away. If you can, you should make a note of the details of the vehicle and the driver’s description. For example, write down the color, the make, the model, and the license plate number. In any serious case of road rage, especially involving violence or auto accident injuries, file a police report.
Contact an Attorney If You’ve Been In an Auto Accident Caused By Another Driver’s Road Rage
If you have been in a South Carolina auto accident that was caused by the road rage of another driver, you should file a police report and contact an experienced Columbia auto accident attorney. You can schedule a free consultation with The Jeffcoat Firm to learn more about your legal options.