A 2016 study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported that 80 percent of drivers experienced anger or aggression at some point in the prior year. That’s not surprising, as there are plenty of aggravations to be found behind the wheel. Traffic congestion, road construction, and drivers who are texting or simply not paying attention. The list could go on and on.
Despite these frustrations, most drivers are able to manage their stress, control their emotions, and function safely behind the wheel. At times, however, there are those who cannot cope. Their aggravation escalates into a much more serious and dangerous behavior—road rage.
What Is Road Rage?
Road rage is violent anger triggered by driving a vehicle in stressful conditions. Road rage often involves elements of aggressive driving, such as speeding, making obscene gestures, and tailgating, but also involves a more deliberate and serious criminal violation of the law. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) characterizes road rage as the extreme end of the aggressive driving continuum and makes an important distinction that while aggressive driving is a traffic violation, road rage is a criminal offense. It often involves some type of assault.
In recent years, North Carolina drivers have reported instances in which they were run off the road, crashed into, and even threatened with a gun. Across the country, road rage incidents have ended in serious injury and even death.
What Causes Road Rage?
Often, road rage incidents do not even involve an actual crash, but simply an act that causes another driver to have to evade or wait. Psychologists say that road rage is not typically caused by the actions of another driver, but rather triggered by it.
Drivers who are already tense, stressed, or angry about some other aspect of life fail to control their emotions when faced with what they perceive as disrespect or even malice by a driver on the road. Some of the most common situations that trigger road rage incidents include:
- A driver pulling out in front of another vehicle
- A driver taking too long to go when a light turns green
- A driver slowing or stopping to turn without signaling
- A driver drifting into the lane of another vehicle
In these rather minor situations, it is possible that an initial crash can occur. However, even when a crash doesn’t happen, a road rage accident can.
Fault and Road Rage Accidents in North Carolina
Engaging in road rage behavior is never appropriate, and drivers can be held accountable for their threatening and even harmful behavior. At the very least, they are likely guilty of traffic violations. In more serious circumstances, drivers can be held criminally responsible for the injuries they cause.
Victims can obtain compensation for medical bills, lost wages, future medical bills and lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Punitive damages may also be awarded to victims when the enraged driver behaves especially maliciously.
How a North Carolina Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or someone you love has suffered injuries caused by a driver with road rage, it may seem like a rather straightforward claim. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this individual and his insurance company will likely try to shift blame for the accident in any way they can. It’s probable they will attempt to use whatever event triggered the incident to place responsibility onto the victim. That’s where our Raleigh lawyers can help.
Our legal team understands the games insurance companies and at-fault drivers play, and we help victims defend their rights so they can obtain all the compensation they need to recover. We understand how stressful and difficult this time can be. Call our office nearest you to speak with a member of our team and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.