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How To Handle Drivers With Road Rage

Published on Jun 25, 2024 at 2:56 pm in Car Accidents.

Everyone gets frustrated on the road. But what happens when that turns into road rage? We have all heard stories about angry drivers causing havoc on the streets. Is there a way to de-escalate the situation so you don’t end up in an accident?

Our lawyers at DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, have handled many car, truck, and motorcycle accident cases over the years. Most of the time, the fault is due to another driver’s actions.

When it comes to dealing with an aggressive driver, do you really know how to handle drivers with road rage? Here are a few tips to help avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

Signs of Road Rage

Road rage is a serious issue. According to Consumer Affairs, at least 92% of all American drivers have witnessed a road rage incident over the past year. These actions refer to the aggressive and often violent behaviors exhibited by drivers when they feel frustrated or angry. A recent local news story from WBOY captures how West Virginia ranks third in the nation for these incidents.

These behaviors can include verbal and physical assaults targeted at other road users, motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists. Road rage often leads to dangerous situations on the road. You will want to understand the signs of road rage so that you can avoid these angry drivers.

The common signs of road rage include:

  • Yelling or shouting
  • Threatening other drivers
  • Driving too closely behind another vehicle
  • Excessive honking
  • Displaying rude hand gestures or other offensive signs
  • Confronting other drivers
  • Deliberately changing lanes abruptly or blocking someone’s path

Road rage can lead to accidents, injuries, and sometimes fatalities. Once you notice that someone is acting aggressively, you can take steps to handle the situation safely.

Dealing With Aggressive Drivers

While you may want to confront the driver regarding their behavior, it is best to take a calm approach. Any engagement can lead them to act in an even more erratic manner. Let’s look at a few ways to handle these drivers on the road.

Avoid Eye Contact

When dealing with aggressive drivers on the road, you need to remain calm and collected. You can do this by avoiding eye contact with the other driver. When you make eye contact, that could be interpreted as a challenge or a sign of aggression, which can escalate the situation and make it worse. Instead, you will want to focus on the road ahead and maintain a neutral expression.

Never Shout Back

If someone is screaming at you, resist the urge to shout back. You don’t want to engage in verbal altercations. Your best action is to keep your windows up and avoid talking to them. Once again, any engagement can escalate to a verbal altercation. If you shout back, the road rage driver may feel the need to “pay back” for your actions.

Don’t Honk

As a responsible driver, you must be mindful about how and when you use your car horn. Honking unnecessarily or excessively can be a source of frustration for other drivers and pedestrians. In some cases, it could escalate into road rage or other dangerous situations.

For this reason, you might want to use your horn sparingly. With that, you can avoid provoking aggression but also contribute to a more pleasant and peaceful driving experience for everyone on the road. You might only want to use your horn when necessary for safety, such as warning someone of an impending collision or alerting another driver who may be merging into your lane.

Change Lanes Safely

If you are being followed too closely or if another driver is acting aggressively or erratically, you will want to stay calm and focused. This is the time to change lanes when you can safely do so.

Before changing lanes, make sure that you signal clearly to let other drivers know your intentions. Check your mirrors and blind spots to ensure no vehicles are in your path. While you may want to move away from the aggressive driver, you don’t want to cause an accident in the process. Keep in mind that any sudden action could trigger the other driver to act more aggressively.

Stay Calm

Driving can be stressful, especially when you encounter aggressive or rude behavior from other drivers. Keep in mind that their behavior is not about you. They might be having a bad day or dealing with something stressful in their own lives.

Whatever the reason, remain calm and collected. Take a deep breath and focus on driving safely. Don’t engage with the other driver or retaliate in any way. You will want to maintain your composure and continue driving defensively. Your safety and the safety of your passengers should always be your top priority.

Report Dangerous Behavior

If you encounter an aggressive driver whose actions are putting others in danger, you will want to take action to protect yourself and others on the road. You should report the driver to the authorities, whether that’s the local police department or West Virginia State Police.

If you can, note down their license plate number, vehicle description, and location. This will help the authorities identify the driver and take appropriate action to prevent them from causing harm to others. Safety on the road is everyone’s responsibility. When you report dangerous behavior, that’s an important step in keeping our streets safe for everyone.

Getting Help if an Aggressive Driver Injured You

It can be a scary scenario when you encounter a driver engaging in road rage. These drivers do not act in a reasonable manner, and often cause accidents resulting in serious injuries.

If you have been injured or involved in an accident you can attribute to an aggressive driver, remember that DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC, always offers free consultations to discuss your rights.