Along with an increase in motor vehicle accidents, the global Covid-19 pandemic has also brought on an influx of road rage incidents. So what is road rage? Road rage is aggressive and unsafe driving that puts other drivers and their property immediately into harm’s way.
Common behaviors of road rage include aggressive gestures, inflammatory language or profanity, bumping, hitting or side-swiping another vehicle, tailgating, and can even cause drivers to get out of a vehicle to confront another driver, force another vehicle off the road, use headlights or brake lights to intimidate other drivers, or swerving dangerously from lane to lane.
Factors that contribute to road rage
A recent study on American drivers and their road rage behaviors discovered that about 78% of drivers admitted to participating in aggressive behavior while behind the wheel. Many factors can contribute to drivers acting aggressively:
- Traffic delays – this can include sitting in traffic, waiting for a parking spot, pedestrians to cross, or traffic lights to change, which can all potentially aggravate drivers.
- Being late – being behind schedule can cause impatience that results in aggression.
- Anonymity – the cloak of anonymity and knowing that you will not see other drivers again, may encourage some behind the wheel to engage in dangerous behaviors like cutting others off, switching lanes dangerously, or honking aggressively.
- Disregard for the law and others’ safety – some people think that the rules just don’t apply to them.
- Learned behaviors – some drivers have been taught by others that aggressive driving is the norm.
Safety Tips and Preventing Road Rage
There are some simple tips and tricks to keep safe and avoid enraging scenarios. Leaving plenty of time and creating a relaxing driving environment can help reduce road rage. Understanding that you can’t control traffic conditions but can prepare for them can also help. Going out of your way to being polite to those on the road and avoiding conflict can help as well.
If another starts to interact aggressively with you, make the move to get out of the way and de-escalate the situation if possible. Practicing all the safe driving tips you were taught in driver’s ed, following at a safe distance, signaling clearly, and changing lanes with plenty of space. Give others a break and put yourself in their shoes. Don’t use the horn to “teach them a lesson.” If you find yourself in a conflict on the road and are unable to get out of it, call the police and get help.
At the end of the day, most road rage incidents come from drivers who are distracted and complacent, rather than focusing on the safety needs of driving a vehicle.
So What Can I Do?
The best thing to do is to report incidents of aggressive driving and road rage. Call the police and tell them as much information as you can. Tell them the location you last saw the vehicle, what time it was, the direction the vehicle was traveling, and the roadway you were on. Try to recall the specifics of the incident and if any weapons were used. If you have the color and make of the vehicle, and if you were able to, the license plate shares those as well. Also, tell the police whether you were directly involved with the incident or if you were a witness to the proceedings.
If you or a loved one has been in an incident involving road rage that has resulted in personal injury or property damage, please contact Larson and Gallivan Law PLC, we’ve got your back.