Aggressive driving is a serious problem in South Florida and across the nation. According to surveys conducted the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 9 out of 10 survey respondents reported that they believed that aggressive driving was a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat to their own personal safety.
Moreover, the Foundation has reported that its findings suggest that approximately 8 million drivers in the U.S. have engaged in incidents of road range, including getting out of their vehicles to confront other drivers or purposefully ramming into a car in front of them.
While nearly everyone gets irritated from time to time when driving on the crowded roads and highways in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and other portions of Florida, frustration and aggravation does not excuse reckless driving behaviors. Motor vehicle accidents caused by aggressive driving, road rage and other hostile behaviors can cause serious life-long injuries, or even death.
When an individual gets behind the wheel of a vehicle he or she has a legal duty to obey the rules of the road and exercise care towards other motorists, passengers and pedestrians. If a person fails to meet this duty and chooses to engage in aggressive driving behaviors or road rage, they can be held legally liable for injuries and damages caused by their negligent and reckless conduct.
Aggressive Driving Behaviors and Road Rage
While there are many different types of aggressive driving behaviors, some of the most common examples or aggressive driving include:
- Running a red light
- Failing to use turn signals when changing lanes
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Weaving through traffic
- Honking the horn or flashing headlights
- Yelling at or making angry hand gestures to another driver
In many instances, aggressive driving behaviors can turn into road rage. The U.S. National Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage to be the label used “to describe the angry and violent behaviors at the extreme of the aggressive driving continuum.” There are many different types of actions that can fall within the road rage category, such as
- Running another vehicle off the road
- Pulling over and getting out of a car to confront another driver
- Purposefully rear-ending or ramming into another vehicle
- Blocking another driver from changing lanes
- Using a weapon to inflict harm upon another driver
Unfortunately, when we get on the road we cannot control the actions and behaviors of other motorists. While we would like to believe that drivers can manage their anger and frustration when operating a motor vehicle, the reality is that far too many drivers lose control of their emotions resulting in car accidents that can involve catastrophic injuries and damages.
What You Need to do If You are the Victim of Aggressive Driving or Road Rage
If you have been involved in an accident caused by an aggressive or violent driver, you deserve to be compensated for any injuries or damages you have sustained. While these types of car crashes can be terrifying there are several things you can do to protect yourself immediately after an accident occurs:
- Stop your vehicle and call 911. Even if you think the vehicle damage is minor and/or there are no injuries to report, you should pull off the road to a safe place and call 911 to request help from the police. If injuries are involved the 911 dispatcher will send emergency personnel to evaluate and treat your injuries and/or the injuries of other motorists and passengers.
- Remain in your car. Provided it is safe to do so, you should lock your vehicle doors and remain in your car until help has arrived. Because the other driver may present a danger to you and your passengers, it is always best to stay as far away as possible.
- Seek prompt medical attention. Even if you don’t think that your injuries are serious, you should be evaluated by a medical doctor as soon as possible after the car accident has occurred. Some injuries may not surface until days or weeks after the accident, so it is important to be checked out by a qualified health care provider who can fully and properly evaluate your medical condition.
- Take notes. If you are able to do so, record any details or pertinent facts about the accident, including the other driver’s license plate number along with a description of the vehicle and the driver.
- Take pictures. Once the police have arrived and they have ensured you that it is safe to get out of your car, use your cell phone to take pictures of the accident scene and any damages to your vehicle or the other vehicles involved in the accident.
- Get contact information from witnesses. If anyone witnessed the incident you should ask for their names, phone numbers and addresses. Identifying witnesses and getting their statements can be critical to the outcome of your case.
- Contact an Experienced Automobile Accident Attorney. Dealing the aftermath of any car accident is always a confusing process. However, crashes caused by aggressive driving or road rage can involve additional challenges. An experienced West Palm Beach car accident lawyer can make the process of dealing with insurance companies and adjustors much easier for you. Your attorney will carefully investigate your case and make sure you are taking the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights and interests.
A West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer can Help When a Road Rage Accident Occurs
If you have been hurt in a car wreck caused by aggressive driving or road rage in West Palm Beach, Hollander Law Firm can help. The Founder of the firm, Attorney Gregg Hollander, has been representing people who have been who have been injured in car accidents for more than 25 years, including victims of road rage and other aggressive driving behaviors.
He knows how to handle complicated motor vehicle accident cases, and he will fight to ensure that you get the maximum compensation that you deserve. You can speak with an experienced road rage car accident attorney in our West Palm Beach office by calling 561-556-7873.