Road rage is a common form of dangerous driving that many Californians are experiencing all too often. The hectic, busy schedules of people these days can contribute to irritation, impatience and anger behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, you might sustain an injury in an auto accident caused by an angry or aggressive driver.
Aggressive driving and road rage are similar in that they are dangerous driving behaviors resulting from someone who is losing control emotionally. However, the law interprets both driving types somewhat differently.
Aggressive driving is a traffic offense
The American Safety Council states that aggressive driving is a dangerous traffic offense, but it is not a crime. You might have encountered aggressive driving in the form of someone tailgating you, swerving to cut you off, honking the horn or using an impolite hand gesture. An aggressive driver might speed, run red lights and generally become a nuisance on the road. These behaviors are unfortunately common and can become deadly, as you might imagine.
Road rage is a crime
On the other hand, road rage occurs when an aggressive driver steps up his or her game in a deliberate attempt to cause harm to someone else. If you are on the receiving end of road rage, your assailant might try to run you off the road or follow you home. If the other driver corners you, he or she might leave the vehicle to physically attack you or use a weapon against you. If you are targeted by a driver who is trying to harm you, never retaliate and do not drive home. Remain calm and drive to a police station, fire station or well-lit shopping center and get inside quickly. Call 911 if you have your cellphone.
Angry drivers bent on violence have injured or killed thousands of people. If you drive courteously and are smart in your reactions to an aggressive driver, you may avoid becoming another victim.