Drivers have to make many decisions when operating a motor vehicle. They must obey the rules of the road, but a lot of choices they make are subjective ones. A driver may need to decide whether to try to pass another motorist or whether he or she has time to pull out into an intersection. When drivers make these types of judgments, they need to do so with a calm and level head. They are legally required to exercise a reasonable amount of caution.
Unfortunately, far too many drivers give in to anger. In fact, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, as many as 80 percent of motorists responding to a survey admitted to not just feeling, but actually expressing, road rage or anger at least once in the past 12 months prior. If drivers allow their aggression to manifest in unsafe behaviors, those motorists who give into their anger create a significant risk of auto accidents on the road.
According to AAA Foundation, motorists may exhibit road rage in many different ways, all of which can significantly increase the chances of a collision occurring.
For example, AAA indicated drivers who give in to road rage or aggression may drive too fast, especially if the motorist has been held up in heavy traffic. Of course, driving too fast increases the odds of an accident- especially if there are lots of cars on the road. The speeding driver may not be able to stop in time to avoid hitting another car around him. When a driver crashes at a high speed, the accident is more likely to be a serious or even deadly collision because higher velocity produces greater impact that the body must absorb.
Another way road rage can manifest is following too closely behind a lead vehicle. If a driver travels too closely to a car in front of his or her vehicle, there is a greater chance the driver will hit the lead car. If the lead car has to slow down or stop for any reason, the rear car will probably rear-end the lead vehicle. This could cause serious injuries, for which the driver – who was following too closely – would be held legally responsible.
Some drivers feeling road rage also reportedly cut off other motorists and then slow down right away to annoy the motorist who is now in the rear. Car accidents can happen when a driver cuts someone off. A rear-end crash is also more likely to happen if the driver in the rear car retaliates by driving too closely behind the front car.
Running a red light, changing lanes without signaling, or use of headlights and brights are also ways drivers who exhibit road rage can attempt to punish other drivers- all of which can cause crashes. Since these different accidents increase the likelihood of a collision, it should come as no surprise around half of all accidents from 2003 to 2007 involved a driver engaging in aggressive behavior. Drivers should not give into aggression and put themselves and others in jeopardy.
Dan Carlton and his team are dedicated, down-to-earth, compassionate personal injury attorneys committed to helping victims of traffic accidents, personal injuries, dog bites and more. Serving Los Angeles and the entire Orange County area, including Anaheim, Tustin, Irvine, Garden Grove and Santa Ana, for over 40 years, we have handled thousands of cases.
Daniel C. Carlton