Of all the world’s avoidable traffic mishaps, road rage seems like it would be the most easily prevented.
All people should have to do is keep calm, move along, and refuse to let their emotions get the best of them — and then no one gets hurt.
Unfortunately, some people have a hard time keeping their emotions in check, and the high-stakes highway environment often becomes a tipping point at which those feelings explode. We call that road rage, a complicated phenomenon with very serious and sometimes tragic results.
Virtually every auto accident boils down to a loss of control.
When drivers lose control of their vehicles — usually because they are speeding, texting, falling asleep, or indulging in some other negligent behavior – crashes happen, and the results can be tragic.
Similarly, road rage is a crisis of lost control — control of one’s own emotional restraint. As countless studies and stories have shown, road rage can be just as dangerous as any other auto accident.
The victims of road rage often find themselves in the doctor’s office or hospital, either because the defendant’s aggression triggered a car crash or because he or she actually lashed out with physical violence.
In some cases, the altercation with the aggressor may have been purely verbal in nature, but the victims go home in fear for their safety after receiving a vicious threat.
There is never an excuse for road rage, and the victims do have legal rights, which may include protection and/or compensation.
At Abrahamson & Uiterwyk, we understand just how real, disturbing, and even devastating road rage can become. Our Tampa auto accident attorneys have worked with thousands of traffic accident cases over the last quarter-century, and we’ve seen enough instances of lost control to understand that road rage is far more serious than simply someone having a bad temper.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury because of someone else’s bad behavior on the roads, you may be entitled to financial compensation under the law. Call us today.
Signs of Road Rage
Like other forms of anger, road rage tends to start small and grow quickly. Often, the driver exhibiting road rage was feeling frustrated prior to getting behind the wheel that day, and when an unexpected or unpleasant event transpired on the road, those frustrations gave way to anger, directed (unfairly) at another motorist or pedestrian.
Some experts describe the signs of road range as “symptoms” — a series of indicators that should alert you to the possibility that someone might be losing control of his or her emotions on the road. The signs include:
- Honking the horn repeatedly or excessively
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Aggressively gaining speed on other cars
- Following cars at very close, unsafe distances (“tailgating”)
- Generally driving aggressively
- Shouting at other cars, drivers, or pedestrians
- Raising the middle finger to drivers or making other hostile gestures
- A look of intense anger in the aggressor’s face or demeanor
- Making multiple moving violations (i.e. breaking at least several rules of the road)
- Flashing headlights at other drivers in a hostile, distracting, or badgering manner
- Communicating threats (with words, gestures, writings, or actions)
- Displaying a weapon
- Attempting to run someone off the road or otherwise obstructing their path
- Following someone to their destination (“stalking”)
- Any indications of intoxication
Additionally, be on the lookout for signs that you may be experiencing road rage. These include:
- Thinking critical or condemning thoughts towards other drivers
- Speaking out insults towards drivers you do not know
- Surprising yourself with a sudden surge of frustration or anger
- Thinking violent thoughts towards others on the road
- Realizing you have been unintentionally speeding or driving aggressively while feeling angry
Never Engage with Road Rage
If you encounter road rage, do not engage. Simply keep calm, avoid eye contact, and try to get away from the situation without endangering yourself. Do not respond by shouting, making gestures, or becoming angry yourself — these behaviors will only make a bad situation worse.
If you feel threatened or endangered, or if you believe you are being followed, call 911 immediately. If you do not have a phone, try to flag a police officer or otherwise stop in a public, well-lit location with lots of people around and ask for help.
If you are experiencing road rage yourself, take a deep breath. Remember that everyone is human and we all make mistakes. Even if the other person acted unreasonably on the road, they probably did not intend it as a personal affront to you. Besides, even if the person deserves your anger, your day will be much better if you simply let it go. Remember: road rage can quickly spiral out of control and could result in a high-dollar lawsuit against you or even land you in jail.
Injured in a Road Rage Incident? Our Tampa Road Rage Attorneys Can Help.
If you’ve been the victim of road rage in Central Florida, the Tampa road rage attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk can assist you with your claim. We have the experience it takes to fight for your rights in the face of road rage.