It’s easy to allow your emotions to get the best of you behind the wheel. Driving can be frustrating when you are stuck in traffic or cut off by someone more interested in a phone conversation than the road. But road rage and aggressive driving can lead to auto accidents.
In recent years, we’ve seen stories of tragic road rage accidents in the news locally. Many people heard about the newlywed N.J. man killed in a road rage crash this past summer. He was just 26-years-old.
We all have the potential to lose our temper, but turning that frustration into deadly driving behavior is not the answer.
What Qualifies as Road Rage?
The driving behaviors that constitute road rage depend on who you ask. Generally, speeding is recognized as the most common form of aggressive driving. Other examples include:
- Unsafe lane changes
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Passing on the right
- Honking your horn excessively
- Cursing or gesturing angrily
- Throwing items at other drivers
- Disregarding traffic signs and signals
- Chasing another vehicle
How Common Is Road Rage?
It’s difficult to quantify how many accidents are caused by road rage or aggressive driving. According to the Insurance Information Institute, aggressive driving is a significant factor in many accidents across the United States each year.
This issue has been ongoing for some time. According to the Institute’s analysis of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, aggressive driving contributed to 56 percent of fatal crashes over a five-year period. A recent survey conducted by The Zebra revealed that 82 percent of drivers surveyed admitted that they had engaged in an act of road rage within the previous year, demonstrating just how prevalent the problem is across America.
One common type of aggressive driving that is easier to quantify is speeding. While motorists speed for a variety of reasons, driving too fast is frequently associated with road rage. According to NHTSA statistics, 9,478 people died in accidents caused by speeding in a single recent year, making it the leading cause of fatal crashes during that time.
Avoid Getting Agitated Behind the Wheel
Many people perceive New York and New Jersey roads as some of the most dangerous in the country. As a motorist on these highways and streets, you have a responsibility to remain level-headed. Stay calm even when other drivers are distracted, speeding, or otherwise getting under your skin.
Follow these tips to stay calm, cool, and collected.
- Get plenty of rest. A study from the National Sleep Foundation found people who don’t get enough sleep may be more likely to drive aggressively.
- Leave the house with ample time. When you are running late, slow drivers are more likely to annoy you. You’ll be more likely to speed, pass aggressively, and drive impatiently.
- Don’t take it personally. When another driver cuts you off, don’t take it as a personal attack. Maybe it was a mistake, or they didn’t see you. Regardless of the cause, being insulted and angry about someone else’s driving won’t do any good.
- Getting agitated while behind the wheel doesn’t have any positive effects. It won’t get you to your destination faster, and it won’t make other drivers comply with your wishes.
- Have some manners. If someone needs to merge, let them in. If it looks like someone coming up on your rear is going too fast, move over and allow them to pass. When you practice being polite behind the wheel, other people’s driving behaviors are far less likely to frustrate you.
Get Legal Help from a New Jersey Car Accident Attorney Now
If you find yourself a victim of road rage, the New York and New Jersey injury attorneys of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C., may be able to help. Call us today to discuss your case and your legal options. You can reach us for a free consultation at 1-800-LAW-2000.
This post was originally published in December 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in October 2021.
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Since 1981, the compassionate personal injury lawyers at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon have been delivering results for our deserving clients. We are solely committed to helping injured individuals, never representing corporations. No matter how large or small your personal injury case is, you can trust that it is important to us.