Road rage and aggressive driving make the streets more dangerous for other drivers who operate their vehicles with the precautions and safety practices you would expect. Unfortunately, encountering aggressive driving and road rage are the reality of how some motorists act.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving played a role in almost 56% of fatal crashes from 2003 to 2007. The majority of which involved excessive speed. These statistics do not even account for the thousands of preventable injuries.
When it comes to road safety, you want to identify — and avoid — dangerous drivers, but that is not always possible. If you suspect aggressive driving or road rage played a role in your serious car accident, do not hesitate to contact HawkLaw, P.A. Our personal injury lawyers are highly skilled in South Carolina accident law and will fight for you. Call our law firm today at 888-HAWKLAW.
What is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?
The fundamental difference between aggressive driving and road rage is that the former is a traffic violation, whereas the latter may involve a criminal offense (depending on how far the rage goes, yelling, for instance, would not qualify).
Road rage typically occurs when aggressive drivers (or even their victims) become so angry it creates a dangerous situation. The behavior of the individual becomes uncontrolled and they are provoked easily, expressing themselves with aggressive or violent behavior on the road.
What Actions Constitute Road Rage or Aggressive Driving in South Carolina?
Many people often use the terms aggressive driving and road rage interchangeably. However, there are some distinct differences between the two.
The term aggressive driving is associated with dangerous behavior taking place on U.S. roadways. This phrase encompasses a number of unsafe driving behaviors, including:
- Operating a vehicle excessively over the speed limit
- Weaving unsafely in heavy traffic conditions
- Violating traffic laws (e.g., stop lights and signs)
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Running red lights
These and other aggressive driving behaviors that go against all safe driving practices can fall under the umbrella term of aggressive driving. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.”
When comparing aggressive driving and road rage, there are a few overlapping factors since many aggressive behaviors can quickly escalate to road rage behavior. However, examples of road rage typically include the following:
- Ramming or bumping into other vehicles
- Making rude gestures at other drivers
- Tailgating cars in front of them
- Yelling at other people using roadways
- Honking in anger at others
- Engaging in lane blocking
- Intentionally cutting off other drivers
These are only a handful of ways road rage tends to materialize. In many instances, road rage behaviors are considered acts of violence and can lead to jail time.
How Does Aggressive Driving Cause Accidents?
Aggressive driving is unsafe behavior and puts yourself and others at risk. Not only are activities considered to be aggressive driving dangerous in themselves, but they can also spur anger in other motorists on the road, leading to bad situations becoming even worse.
How to Avoid an Accident with an Aggressive Driver
Rather than contribute to escalating an already bad situation, it is best to avoid getting into accidents — or even confrontations — with an aggressive driver. Instead, focus on the safety of yourself and the safety of others.
Let Them Pass
If you encounter a driver tailgating you or otherwise driving poorly, try to move away from them and avoid getting angry. That will not help the situation. If you encounter a speeding driver, even if you have the right of way, simply let them pass because it is not worth getting into an accident or getting furious yourself. Whatever you do, never brake check the other driver. This can contribute to making a bad situation much, much worse.
Keep Your Cool
Avoid getting angry at the actions of other drivers, and do not attempt to retaliate. If the other driver is acting aggressively by flipping you the bird, honking their horn, or yelling obscenities, ignoring them is your best path to safety. Also, try not to make eye contact, as this can be seen as an act of mutual aggression.
Follow Safe Driving Practices
No motorist likes to be tailgated. It can make the other driver feel uneasy, so try to maintain the appropriate following distance. Also, be sure to use your turn signal when turning off the road or changing lanes. This avoids potential conflict if you let other drivers know your intentions.
By taking these simple steps, you can often avoid getting in the middle of road rage incidents. Doing so can help you avoid fatalities and injuries.
What to Do When in an Accident with an Aggressive Driver
Usually, when in an accident with another driver, you want to exchange information; however, if they look wound up, this may not be the best idea. In extreme cases, you will want to call the local police station and let their officers deal with the angry driver instead. If they appear injured, call 911 for help rather than approach them.
If the driver verbally abuses you or gives you obscene gestures, try to ignore them. You do not want to escalate a potentially dangerous situation by engaging with a driver who exhibits road rage behavior.
Do not speak to their insurance company; contact a skilled car accident attorney and let them handle communications. Insurance companies are in the business to make money and do not have your best interests at heart.
20+ Years Holding Aggressive Drivers Accountable
If you have been a victim of road rage, the South Carolina personal injury lawyers at HawkLaw will fight for you and help you win compensation for your injuries. We fight to win! Our accident attorneys are very skilled in every type of motor vehicle collision, including those caused by aggressive drivers and road rage incidents.
We highly value our clients and promise to offer you sound legal advice in relation to your situation. To request a free consultation,* call 888-HAWKLAW or complete our online contact form to speak with a member of the HawkLaw team today.