Road Rage Accidents

We’ve all experienced frustration in high-traffic situations, or anger when an aggressive driver cuts us off, but when a driver becomes a danger to others on the road due to reckless, aggressive actions, it’s road rage—an increasingly common phenomenon. Road rage incidents have led to 12,610 injuries and over 200 murders in the United States over a seven-year study period. The study reveals a stunning 500% increase in road rage incidents in the last decade.

Road rage driver driving recklessly.

What Causes Road Rage Accidents?

Road rage is dangerously aggressive and confrontational driving commonly triggered by the following:

  • Frustration
  • Stress
  • Emotional problems or mental illness
  • Disregard for traffic laws
  • Running late for work, school, or appointments

Congested or gridlocked traffic, lengthy delays, and a driver believing they’ve been wronged by another motorist all contribute to road rage incidents. Some instances of road rage trigger reckless driving, causing accidents. Some road rage incidents escalate into physical confrontations and acts of violence.

Common Examples of Road Rage

When a driver engages in dangerous, reckless, and aggressive behaviors on the road, it presents a significant danger to others. Recognizing the signs of road rage in other drivers helps motorists avoid interactions that could escalate the behavior. Common signs of road rage include the following:

  • Aggressive lane changes or weaving through traffic
  • Horn-honking
  • Yelling, swearing, and making rude gestures
  • Shouting threats to other drivers
  • Tailgating
  • Brake-checking (pulling in front of another driver and then repeatedly hitting the brakes)
  • Driving or passing on the side of the road, in medians, or on sidewalks
  • Speeding
  • Blocking other drivers
  • Disregarding traffic signs and signals
  • Improper passing 
  • Making sudden turns without signaling
  • Following another driver
  • Ramming

When road rage escalates, it causes accidents or leads to irrational behavior such as initiating a confrontation, fighting, shooting, or other acts of violence.

How To Diffuse a Road Rage Situation

It’s alarming to become the target of another driver’s road rage. If this situation arises it is essential to avoid conflating the other driver’s rage. Instead, you should take reasonable action to diffuse or remove yourself from the situation. Call 911 to report the driver if you are being threatened, have experienced an accident, or the driver’s reckless behavior is endangering you or others on the roadway. You can also take the following recommended steps to de-escalate the incident before an accident or violence occurs:

  • Wave your hand or nod at the driver and mouth the words, “I’m sorry,” even if you didn’t do anything wrong
  • Stay calm and allow the other driver to move ahead of you in traffic
  • Put distance between your vehicle and the other driver’s car
  • Avoid direct eye-contact
  • Do not engage in horn-honking, yelling, or gesturing
  • Don’t pull over or stop (unless you must stop for a traffic light or stop sign)
  • Drive defensively, remain aware of your surroundings, and avoid aggressive driving maneuvers that antagonize other drivers

Taking a calm approach and avoiding dangerous traffic situations and aggressive drivers reduces the chances of becoming the victim of a road rage accident.

How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?

Road rage accidents are terrifying and traumatic, especially when they also involve violent confrontations. If another driver’s road rage behavior caused you to have an accident, we are here to help. The Cherry Hill accident attorneys at Cuneo & Leonetti understand the shock and trauma of an accident caused by a driver’s irrational rage and reckless behavior behind the wheel. A car accident claim proceeds independently of any criminal justice action in the case and focuses on financially compensating the victims rather than punishing the reckless driver.