Running late for work and getting stuck in congested traffic can be a stressful way to start your day, and if you see someone on the road behaving in an irresponsible way, it’s easy to quickly lose your cool and get angry, even to explode. Every one of us has experienced moments when we felt like screaming at another driver who seems particularly reckless.
But that anger, while understandable, can quickly translate into a far bigger problem. In far too many instances, it encourages drivers to engage in the kind of aggressive behavior that significantly increases the risk of an accident. It’s called Road Rage, and it’s a problem that seems to be getting worse.
If you find yourself in a road rage incident, let’s explore the reasons why having an attorney is going to be crucial.
What Causes Road Rage?
Road rage is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as a driver committing traffic offenses that endanger the lives of others. Road rage, in fact, is viewed by the law as assault with a deadly weapon, because your vehicle is considered to be just that — a dangerous weapon that can cause considerable harm to other motorists and their vehicles.
Studies indicate that road rage incidents often occur when traffic conditions are poor, such as when motorists are experiencing:
- Road construction
- Bad weather
- Peak commuting times
Situations like this mean drivers are operating under higher levels of stress, so they’re more likely to get angry and even explode when they see another motorist acting in an aggressive way. That can include:
- Blocking the passing lanes
- Driving too slowly in the far left lane
- Switching lanes quickly and without signaling
- Frequently honking your horn
- Using obscene or offensive hand gestures
- Running yellow and red lights
Situations like this, which can sound irritating or annoying, can quickly escalate into something far more serious and problematic.
Is Road Rage Considered a Crime?
Aggressive driving leading to road rage incidents is definitely a criminal offense, and it’s something that highway officials are working hard to discourage. The NHTSA reports that 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and 2% of drivers have actually admitted trying to run an aggressor off the road. AAA estimated that 80% of Louisiana drivers have experienced some degree of road rage in their lifetime.
It’s true that in a lot of cases, road rage can turn out to be a passive event. Safely behind the wheel of our cars, we may curse the other driver or shake our heads in disbelief, then watch that motorist fade off into traffic. But it’s unfortunately quite easy for these events to escalate into something far worse.
In many cases, road rage incidents start from negligent driving behavior that seems so egregious that it causes another driver to feel a surge of aggressive rage. That driver responds by operating in a more reckless manner. At that point, their actions quickly go from unfortunate to illegal. If what happens next results in bodily injury, property damage and other severe losses, the driver just committed a crime.
Louisiana State Police are encouraging drivers who witness road rage incidents to dial *LSP (*577) from their phone and report the incident.
If you’ve been involved in a road rage incident that leads to an arrest, it’s important to recognize that the law views road rage as a serious problem and that you’ll need strong legal representation defending yourself in court.
And if you’re the victim of a road rage incident and have suffered injuries due to another motorist’s aggressive driving, an experienced personal injury attorney can help protect your rights and your future.
Experienced Louisiana Car Accident Lawyers Near You
Every moment wasted not contacting an attorney to help you with your car accident case is a potential dollar lost in your settlement, so it’s important to partner with a trusted attorney. In Louisiana, attorneys with E. Orum Young Law have decades of experience negotiating with insurers to reach fair settlements for their clients. E. Orum Young Law strives to handle all the complex legwork necessary to pursue a successful claim so you can focus on healing. Our goal is to help you receive the compensation you deserve for all of your accident-related losses. We have more than 35 years of experience protecting Louisiana drivers and are ready to fight for you.