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People take risks because they don't see other drivers as people

Have you ever wondered why people take such tremendous risks behind the wheel?

For instance, maybe you were about to pull out into an intersection when you noticed that a car coming toward the red light was speeding up, not slowing down. You slammed on your brakes as that driver intentionally ran the red light.

It's horrifically dangerous. It's also not the way people act when they're face to face. You don't cut in line at the pretzel stand at the mall, and there's no chance the other people in line are going to die if you do. But people cut each other off and put others at risk all the time on the road.

The reason, some believe, is that drivers feel like they're anonymous. If you had to look someone in the eye, you'd never take that risk. But the car means you're on your own. They don't know who you are.

Moreover, people tend not to see other traffic as a collection of humans all moving to their destinations. They see cars. You see the pickup truck that's tailgating you or the coupe that's driving too slowly or the bus that's not moving fast enough at the four-way stop.

Because of this, people are willing to take risks. The driver of that pickup doesn't think about you -- or your family -- as people who may be killed in a rear-end accident. He or she just thinks of you as a sedan that needs to go faster or get out of the way. People who are nice and cooperative face-to-face often drive in ways that would surprise you, and it can lead to accidents.

When someone else puts you at risk and injures you, your rights have been violated, and you may be able to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.

Source: Gizmodo, "Why We Become Such Assholes When We’re Behind the Wheel," George Dvorsky, accessed Oct. 11, 2017

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