What Is Considered Road Rage?

What Is Considered Road Rage?

Road rage can include shouting at other drivers, gesturing at other drivers, or even using a vehicle or object to damage another vehicle (or even harm another motorist).

Road rage can be an involuntary response to dangerous actions by other drivers but increases the risk of a car accident. Even if a driver with road rage does not intentionally strike another vehicle, actions they take while upset may contribute to a collision.

Road Rage Guide

Examples of Road Rage

Road rage occurs when a motorist does something they wouldn't normally do because they are angry.

Examples of road rage include:

  • Tailgating a motorist (perhaps after the motorist cut off the road-raged driver)
  • Intentionally cutting in front of another vehicle to send a message
  • Repeatedly flashing high beams in a way that affects the other driver’s vision, placing them in danger
  • Speeding up to a motorist to confront them in some way
  • Taking a hand off the wheel to gesture at another motorist
  • Slowing down in front of another motorist as a sign of displeasure
  • Swerving towards another motorist or decreasing the distance between a motorist in an unsafe way
  • Honking repeatedly in a way that can distract or unnerve the other motorist
  • Exiting the vehicle at a stoplight to verbally or physically confront another motorist
  • Social media videos prove that there are seemingly endless ways to engage in road rage. Tragically, road rage often leads to accidents, injuries, and even death.

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    Why Do People Engage in Road Rage?

    What Is Considered Road Rage

    If you've driven for any sustained period, you know that it can range the spectrum of unpleasantness from annoying to downright infuriating.

    Endless circumstances can make a person upset on the road, including:

    • A motorist in front driving slower than the speed limit, especially in the left-hand lane
    • A motorist changing lanes dangerously in front of your vehicle
    • A motorist tailgating you
    • Being stuck in traffic
    • A motorist using the shoulder while others are waiting in traffic
    • A motorist running a red light or stop sign in a way that endangers you
    • A motorist drifting into your lane because they are distracted

    Some drivers are upset when they begin driving, and the slightest triggers enrage them.

    Someone may fly into road rage if they are:

    • On a high-traffic roadway
    • A young male
    • Facing significant stress in their life
    • Dealing with unresolved or displaced anger
    • Vulnerable to substance misuse, which the APA says is a more common trait in those who are likely to commit road rage

    Road rage happens when a motorist allows the unpleasant aspects of driving to affect their emotional state. Not only that, but drivers who engage in road rage act on their upsetting emotions. This loss of control can have devastating consequences.

    Why Is Road Rage Dangerous?

    The phrase "two wrongs don't make a right" applies aptly to road rage situations. In many cases, drivers experiencing road rage respond to a dangerous action by another driver. The enraged motorist wants to communicate their disagreement (and disgust) with the initial dangerous act, but they commit a more dangerous action to send the message.

    Road rage is dangerous because:

    • It’s a form of distracted driving: Distracted driving includes any activity that takes one's attention from the road. If a motorist is under the influence of rage, their attention is not on safe driving. If the motorist takes a hand off the wheel or turns their head to confront another motorist, they're engaging in additional forms of distraction. 
    • The data says it is dangerous: The well-documented dangers of distracted driving kill thousands of people every year. Because road rage qualifies as a form of distracted driving, the data tells us that enraged driving is dangerous. Many forms of road rage also qualify as aggressive driving, posing a measurable danger to the safety of those on America's roads.

    Motorists' focus should be on one thing: driving safely. When an upset motorist alters their driving habits due to anger, they are not focused on driving safely. If a motorist with road rage causes an accident, you can hold them at fault for that accident.

    How Common Are Road Rage Accidents?

    Road rage accidents are difficult to measure. Generally, an at-fault motorist will not admit to road rage. Even if motorists admit to road rage, we lack reliable systems or statistics for reporting or measuring the total number of road rage accidents.

    Even so, common sense tells us that road rage accidents happen regularly. Motorists frequently grow enraged; they become far more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors when they act upon their rage.

    What Should Someone Do if They Are the Victim of Road Rage?

    If you are a motor vehicle accident victim who believes road rage was a factor in the collision:

    1. Get comprehensive medical attention: You need medical attention to protect your health and document the harm from your accident. Getting thorough medical care will also protect you from any claims that the accident did not injure you or that you exaggerated your injuries in any way.
    2. Hire a lawyer, if you choose: If you want someone to protect you, guide you, and fight for you after a road rage accident, hire an attorney. When you retain an attorney, you can prioritize your recovery. Your lawyer will deal with insurers and fight for the settlement you deserve.

    Your lawyer will walk you through any steps you need to take after your accident. Your lawyer can ensure that insurance companies receive your claim. However, you may need to state your accident. Your attorney can arrange for a written statement to ensure your account of events is clear and accurate.

    Your lawyer can prepare you if you need to give a verbal statement.

    You do not have to hire a lawyer to seek compensation for a road rage accident. If you choose, you can take on insurance companies or even file a lawsuit on your own.

    However, motor vehicle accident victims who are not lawyers may be wary of handling their own case because:

    • They have physical injuries: Many accident victims with injuries are struggling. They may be unable to work, exercise, or complete many other tasks they're used to completing. Recovery is their priority, and dealing with the responsibility of a claim or lawsuit is simply not realistic.
    • They’re psychologically and emotionally fragile: An accident stresses the victim, both in the moment and after. The stress of a claim or lawsuit can worsen any cracks in your mental or emotional state.
    • They have limited time: Life can be hectic even without a claim or lawsuit to worry about. As you focus on your recovery and personal responsibilities, you may struggle to find time to lead your case for compensation.
    • They have little to no experience seeking money for a motor vehicle accident: Unless a motor vehicle accident is a lawyer, they may have little to no experience gathering evidence, negotiating settlements, and managing the other responsibilities of a claim or lawsuit.
    • They want all the compensation they are entitled to: Some victims of road rage may believe that a lawyer has the best chance of recovering the compensation they deserve.

    Hiring a lawyer does not guarantee that you will get the compensation you deserve. However, attorneys may have the resources to negotiate effectively with insurers and other liable parties. As importantly, lawyers have experience securing compensation for accident victims—there is no substitute for experience.

    Primary Reasons to Hire a Lawyer, Rather Than Fighting for Justice on Your Own

    Some common reasons clients cite for hiring a lawyer are:

    • Financial support: Personal injury lawyers represent clients with no upfront compensation. The law firm covers every cost for the case, and the attorney only receives a fee if they get compensation for the client. This is a “contingency fee” because the law firm's payment is contingent upon the firm getting money for their client.
    • Comprehensive legal services: Accident victims who hire a lawyer do not have to worry about their case until their attorney contacts them. The law firm will handle communications with insurers and every other step in the claims process. If the firm and client choose to file a lawsuit, the lawyer will handle that process, too.
    • Protection from hostile parties: Attorney protects clients, including insurance companies, from anyone compromising their financial recovery. By standing between you and these hostile parties, your attorney ensures they cannot violate your right.
    • Peace of mind: Accident victims have enough to worry about. By letting a lawyer fight for compensation, the victims do not have to concern themselves with deadlines, negotiations, or other case-related responsibilities. 

    Accident victims expect their lawyers to get compensation, as they should. If the law firm wins, it will get a percentage of the financial recovery. Victims expect that the law firm will get enough compensation that, even after the fee, the victim will have enough compensation to cover their damages.

    What Will a Lawyer Provide Victims of Road Rage Accidents?

    Attorneys serving road rage accident victims generally:

    Obtain Evidence as Soon as Possible

    Obtaining evidence is one of the more time-sensitive elements of motor vehicle accident cases. An attorney will seek witness accounts and video footage quickly, as these types of evidence tend to degrade with time.

    Other useful evidence may include:

    • A police report detailing the collision
    • An expert’s reconstruction of the accident
    • Cell phone records (in cases of distracted driving)
    • Photographs of vehicle damage, which can help show how vehicles collided

    Your lawyer will secure and preserve all evidence for your case.

    Document the Client’s Damages

    Your attorney will document damages using:

    • Medical bills
    • A doctor’s diagnosis of injuries
    • Past income statements, which may help prove how much income you have lost because of injuries
    • Expert testimony about certain damages, such as psychological trauma

    An attorney should gather all proof of their client’s accident-related damages.

    Negotiate a Settlement

    Law firms represent their clients during settlement negotiations. Attorneys may present evidence of negligence, documentation of damages, and their calculation of the client’s damages during these negotiations.

    Take the Case to Trial, If Necessary

    While most claims and civil lawsuits settle, you may need to file a lawsuit when:

    • Liable parties will not offer a fair settlement
    • The motorist responsible for the accident does not have insurance
    • The liable party’s behavior is so egregious that the lawyer and client believe only a jury award will provide adequate justice

    Generally, you need to go to trial when the best settlement offer will not cover your injuries.

    Your personal injury attorney will handle every other feature of your case, including paperwork, communications, and calculation of your damages.

    How Can a Lawyer Prove That Road Rage Contributed to My Accident?

    While your lawyer may not need to prove road rage was a factor in your accident, a case may be stronger if they can prove the at-fault motorist was out of control at the time of your accident.

    A motorist's admissions of rage, a police report documenting the at-fault motorist's emotional state, and video footage of the accident may help prove that a motorist's rage contributed to the collision.

    What Damages Will a Lawyer Seek Compensation For?

    Recoverable damages from an auto accident may include:

    • Medical expenses
    • Lost income
    • Diminished earning power
    • Pain and suffering
    • Psychological treatment for trauma
    • Vehicle repairs and other property damage

    Your attorney will identify and calculate every damage that entitles you to compensation.

    Hire a Lawyer to Seek Justice for Your Road Rage Accident Today

    Personal injury lawyers typically face filing deadlines for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Do not wait to find and hire a car accident lawyer, as a potential financial recovery can hang in the balance.

    Always protect your legal rights and financial future by seeking the legal evaluation you need. Consultations with personal injury attorneys cost nothing and involve no risk.