It is easy to get frustrated on Florida’s roads. From heavy traffic to drivers who are not paying attention to the road ahead, multiple factors can contribute to having a bad commute or an unsettling moment behind the wheel. But, frustration should not lead to aggressive behavior. Road rage is extremely dangerous, and this is a fact that West Palm beach car accident lawyer Gregg Hollander knows all too well.
If you or someone you love is a victim of road rage, you should seek help promptly. Simply put, there is no excuse for lashing out, behaving recklessly or aggressively, or becoming violent while driving. Drivers who commit road rage deserve to be held accountable, and Florida law entitles victims of road rage accidents to recover just compensation for their accident-related losses.
What Actions Qualify as “Road Rage”?
While “road rage” is a common term and victims of road rage are entitled to compensation under Florida law, the Florida Statutes do not actually define the term. The closest definition in the Florida Statutes appears in Section 316.1923, which defines the traffic offense of “aggressive careless driving.”Speeding, performing unsafe lane changes, passing improperly, following too closely, failing to yield the right of way and running red lights all constitute aggressive careless driving under Section 316.1923.
Of course, road rage goes much further than these prohibited acts. A frequently-cited report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) describes road rage as follows:
“‘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.'”
Similarly, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety defines road rage as, “any unsafe driving maneuver performed deliberately and with ill intention or disregard for safety.” With this in mind, examples of actions that generally qualify as road rage include:
- Tailgating for extended periods of time
- Chasing another vehicle
- Cutting off another vehicle and braking suddenly
- Yelling or gesturing at another driver
- Honking excessively, flashing headlights or following with high beams on
- Getting out of a vehicle to threaten or physically assault another driver
- Assaulting another driver with a firearm or other weapon
While there is no justification for road rage, most instances are linked to one of a few common factors. Even if road rage is triggered by a specific incident (such as one driver pulling out in front of another), most drivers lash out in anger because they are stressed or feeling unfulfilled in some aspect of their life unrelated to the behavior of other drivers. Regardless of the specific factors involved, road rage is never acceptable, and drivers who cause accidents by acting recklessly or aggressively can be held accountable for the consequences of their mistakes.
West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer Explains Road Rage Risks
Drivers who are behaving aggressively and who are distracted by efforts to engage with other drivers are dangers to themselves and everyone else on the road. Multiple factors combine to make road rage extremely high-risk, and road rage can lead to auto accidents in several different ways. These include:
- Running Another Vehicle Off of the Road – In some cases of road rage, aggressive drivers will attempt to run other drivers off of the road, either by bumping their vehicles or cutting them off and leaving them with nowhere else to go.
- Intentionally Causing a Collision – In addition to bumping other vehicles, enraged drivers may also intentionally cause more-serious collisions. This is particularly common in cases in which the enraged driver is driving an especially large vehicle, such as a commercial truck or a lifted truck or SUV.
- Negligently Causing a Collision – When tailgating, cutting drivers off, and engaging in other aggressive driving behaviors, enraged drivers are at especially high risk for colliding with other vehicles. Even if an enraged driver does not intentionally cause an accident, he or she can still be held fully accountable in the event of a collision.
- Causing an Accident While Distracted – Road rage inherently involves cognitive distractions, and enraged drivers will often take their eyes off of the road and hands off of the wheel as well. Even in situations not involving road rage, distracted driving is a leading cause of serious and fatal car accidents.
If you or a member of your family has been involved in a road rage accident in South Florida, you will need to hire an experienced West Palm beach car accident lawyer to gather the evidence needed in order to prove your claim for compensation. At Hollander Law Firm, we are committed to fighting for accident victims and holding dangerous drivers accountable, and we have a long history of obtaining substantial settlements and verdicts for our clients.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Road Rage?
Unfortunately, the reality is that there is nothing that any of us can do to completely protect ourselves and our loved ones from road rage. What other drivers do is beyond our control, and this is a fact that we cannot change. However, there are steps that drivers and their family members can take to mitigate their risk of accident-related losses, including:
- Staying calm on the road
- Ignoring aggressive drivers who try to engage
- Slowing down to let aggressive drivers pass and go on their way
- Obeying the law and being a courteous driver at all times
- Hiring an experienced attorney to fight for just compensation after a road rage accident
Discuss Your Case with West Palm Beach Car Accident Lawyer Gregg Hollander
Have you been seriously injured, or has a member of your family been seriously injured or killed, in an incident of road rage? If so, we can help, and we encourage you to contact us right away.