With any discussion of Road Rage, there is a lot to unpack.
Unfortunately there is probably only one thing that will get through to anyone who caves in to Road Rage, and in the process jeopardizes their safety and the safety of others on the open road. And that is the potential loss of driving privileges.
“Aggressive driving and road rage,” according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, “can lead to revoked or suspended driver licenses, problems between family members and friends, loss of employment and legal problems.”
“The words ‘aggressive driving’ emerged during the 1990s as a label for a category of dangerous on-the-road behaviors. The category comprises following too closely, driving at excessive speeds, weaving through traffic, and running stop lights and signs, among other acts.
“Aggressive driving occasionally escalates to gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault, and even murder; ‘Road Rage’ is the label that emerged to describe the angry and violent behaviors at the extreme of the aggressive driving continuum. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, ‘The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.’ An important distinction is that aggressive driving is a traffic violation, while road rage, aside from the yelling and gesticulating, is a criminal offense.”
Road Rage, according to a 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, happens quite often.
“Nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year,” the study said. “The most alarming findings suggest that approximately eight million U.S. drivers engaged in extreme examples of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver.”
“...Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year, according to the study’s estimates:
- Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
- Yelling at another driver: 47 percent (95 million drivers)
- Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45 percent (91 million drivers)
- Making angry gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)
- Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)
- Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12 percent (24 million drivers)
- Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)
- Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)
AAA offers some guidance on avoiding Road Rage incidents in the first place. These include:
- Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
- Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 911 if needed.
If you find yourself on either end of a Road Rage legal dispute, you should call the law firm of Phillips & Millman for guidance, counsel and a strategy for extracting yourself from the precarious legal situation you are in. Give a ring at 845-947-1100 or visit www.pmlawny.com.