How is road rage different from aggressive driving, and is one more dangerous than the other? Most of us have experienced both several times throughout our lives, but telling them apart can be difficult.
So how do we know what road rage looks like? And what qualifies as aggressive driving?
Road rage involves a criminal act of violence in which a combination of moving traffic offenses are violated as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle by an operator or passenger(s), according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Road rage cases are usually prosecuted as vehicular homicide (if someone is killed) or assault and battery (with or without a vehicle).
- Examples of road rage behavior include and are not limited to:
- Chasing or hitting other vehicles
- Yelling verbal abuses or threats; rude gestures such as ‘the finger’
- Assaulting other roadway occupants
- Using or threatening to use a firearm or other deadly weapon
Aggressive driving is much more common, and its effects can be just as hazardous as road rage. It can range from tailgating, erratic lane changing to speeding to running red lights.
- Other examples of aggressive driving include but are not limited to:
- Failing to yield the right of way or obey traffic signs
- Racing; driving too fast for road conditions
- Making an improper turn
- Failing to signal
If you know you’re a ‘road rager’ and endanger others through engaging in any of the behaviors listed above, there are steps you can take to help handle stress, tension and anger. Use these tips to cool down and help others keep a level head during a hotheaded moment:
- Make sure your personal needs are met. Get enough sleep, feed the hunger and if you are angry, don’t use driving as a means to release stress.
- Plan for extra travel time; rushing can be incredibly stressful.
- Music can affect your mood. Listening to aggressive music with heavy base can cause tension. Classical music, jazz or audio books can help reduce stress.
- Loosen your grip on the steering wheel and stretch
If you find you are the target of an aggressive or angry driver, the NHTSA highly recommends for you to try to stay as calm as possible, avoid making eye contact, ignore rude gestures and get out of the way. By reporting aggressive driving or road rage, you can potentially save a life. Always wear a seatbelt and keep an eye on your rear view mirror for possible escape routes if necessary. Parvey & Cavenago are determined to remove reckless individuals from our roadways. If your right to safety has been violated due to a car accident, or injuries from road rage or aggressive driving, it’s time for you to make an appointment for a free consultation. Get what you’re entitled to; let’s fight for your recovery.