Keep Your Cool: Tips to Avoid Road Rage Incidents
Road rage seems like a strong term, and you likely think it’s something you have very little chance of coming into contact with. Tampa Bay motorists experienced otherwise this past week when they witnessed an accident on Bartow Highway that left one driver fatally injured after being impaled by a fence post, and the other with minor injuries from crashing into a nearby business (read more here https://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/Driver-impaled-and-killed-in-apparent-road-rage-incident-in-Polk-County_169788933). While an occurrence this severe isn’t necessarily likely for you, knowing how to respond to road rage is an important skill to have when behind the wheel, and yet it’s something not addressed very often. So, what should you do if another driver is showing signs of aggression?
Be aware of your surroundings and how you could be perceived. Often, road rage starts with a driver being offended by a gesture, a move that was (unintentionally) inconsiderate, or even something as silly as a bumper sticker. While we aren’t saying you should censor your choice of car decor out of fear of road rage, do be mindful of how you could be perceived by other drivers. If you’re driving and using lots of gestures with passengers in your car while waiting at a stop light for example, another driver behind/beside you, or even in oncoming traffic, could take it as an offensive move toward them, and that could spark an angry response. Additionally, if you drive recklessly and continually cut people off, swerve into their lane, speed past them, etc., it can be taken as a sign of instigation on your part, and other drivers could respond with anger. The best way to stay out of a situation involving road rage is to be considerate of other drivers when you’re on the road, and stay aware of your surroundings.
Ignore aggressive behavior. Sometimes drivers who are completely innocent find themselves being tested by obnoxious drivers who obviously want to start something. Revving engines, speeding up and driving along side you, making gestures toward your car, etc. can be intimidating tactics used by aggressive drivers who are looking for confrontation. If you find yourself in this uncomfortable predicament, your best bet is to ignore the behavior. Continue driving carefully, and if you can get away from the aggressive driver safely, do it. Most of the time, they will let it go and move on, and you can continue on your way. If they don’t…
Get off the road. Whether it means turning onto a (well-lit and populated) street, or into a parking lot with lots of witnesses and other people, getting off the road prevents the other driver from continually engaging in reckless behavior behind the wheel, and could save your own life, or the lives of other drivers. Again, in most cases an aggressive driver will just move on, and won’t take the time or go to the trouble to follow you into a parking lot or off of their original route.
Call for help. If at any time you feel threatened, you always have the right to call the police. This is especially true if the aggressive driver is attempting to physically harm you (run you off the road, slam into your vehicle, pulls out a weapon, etc.), and you should never take behavior like that lightly. A little road rage that involves some yelling, some obscene gestures, etc. is not friendly, or becoming, but it isn’t overly dangerous as long as it ends quickly and both drivers move on. However, instances where you feel physically threatened require police intervention. Police will take your name and location and can come to your aid.
If you have found yourself involved in an accident thanks to someone else’s reckless behavior, you could be eligible for compensation to help you overcome the strain from physical injury, financial burden, and emotional trauma. Sessums Law Group is here to help you get that compensation. We STAND FOR YOU when the unexpected comes your way.