As you know, we are living in a busy society. When you combine our hectic schedules with the congested traffic that has become normal in California, it is no wonder many drivers can become impatient or irritable. All of us at McKnight, McKnight, McKnight & McKnight, Attorneys at Law, know about the terrifying consequences that can happen when an impatient driver flies off the handle. The way you react to a driver like this may save your life.
Road rage is a dangerous and frightening situation, but did you know there is a legal difference between road rage and aggressive driving? According to the American Safety Council, aggressive driving encompasses a number of behaviors that may result in accidents, including the following:
- Speeding and tailgating
- Swerving in and out of traffic
- Cutting other vehicles off
- Swearing, yelling, honking the horn and using rude hand gestures
Aggressive driving is considered a traffic offense if the driver’s behavior endangers others or causes an accident. Road rage, on the other hand, is a criminal offense. A driver has crossed the line from being aggressive to engaging in road rage when he or she deliberately attempts to harm you. Using a weapon in the vehicle, running you off the road, pulling you out of your car or attempting to ram you with his or her car are all ways a person can attack you in a road rage incident.
How can you keep from being harmed by an angry driver? You may not be able to prevent the aggressive behavior of others, but you can choose to avoid escalating a conflict. If you find yourself being chased, do not drive home. Instead, try to get to a police station or a well-lit parking lot where there are other people nearby. Call 911 on your phone if you are able. Keep your doors locked and do not step out of your vehicle if you are forced to stop and the other driver approaches you.
Hopefully, you will never find yourself in such a terrifying and dangerous situation. You can learn more about your rights when injured in a collision by visiting our page on car accidents.