It’s easy to allow your emotions to get the best of you behind the wheel. Whether you are stuck in traffic or cut off by someone more interested in a phone conversation than the road, driving can be frustrating. But road rage or aggressive driving can lead to auto accidents.
Recently, we’ve seen a few stories of road rage accidents in the news locally. Many people have heard about the Manhattan Range Rover driver who was attacked by a group of enraged motorcyclists after he hit a biker.
In a more recent accident, a young mother was killed in Orange County as she drove with her young son. While the details weren’t immediately clear, she was allegedly driving alongside another vehicle for several miles before she was run off the road and ejected.
We all have the potential to lose our temper, but turning that frustration into deadly driving behavior is not the answer.
What Qualifies as?
The driving behaviors that constitute road rage depend on whom you ask. Generally, speeding is recognized as the most common form of aggressive driving. Other examples include:
- Cutting people off
- Passing on the right
- Honking your horn excessively
- Cursing or gesturing angrily
How Common Is Road Rage?
It’s hard to know just how many accidents are caused by aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a “substantial number” of crashes are caused annually by aggressive drivers. More than half of the people surveyed by the agency admitted to driving aggressively on occasion.
Aggressive driving behaviors are scary. About 60 percent of drivers consider speeding and other unsafe driving behaviors as a personal threat to themselves and others in their vehicle. Thirty percent of survey respondents report feeling that their safety was threatened while driving within the last month, and 67 percent reported feeling such threats within the past year.
Avoid getting agitated behind the wheel
As a driver on New York and New Jersey roads, which many think are among the most dangerous in the country, you have a responsibility to remain level-headed. Stay calm even when other drivers are distracted, speeding, or otherwise getting under your skin.
- 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 get under your skin and you’re more likely to speed, pass, and generally drive impatiently.
- Don’t take it personally. When another driver cuts you off, don’t take it as a personal affront. Maybe it was a mistake or they didn’t see you. Regardless, being insulted and angry about someone else’s driving won’t do any good.
- Relax. 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 nice behind the wheel, other people’s driving behaviors are far less likely to frustrate you.
If you find yourself a victim of road rage, the New York and New Jersey 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. We can be reached for a free consultation at 1-800-LAW-2000.