A recent road rage incident in Florida resulted in damage to one vehicle, but not in a manner that you might expect. A man stepped out of his vehicle and turned his frustrations on another vehicle behind him. He kicked and punched the grill of the SUV and police from the Hialeah Police Department were called to the scene. The driver of the damaged vehicle made a complaint but did not wish to file a police report.
Florida has managed to get a reputation when it comes to road rage. So much so that Florida drivers, and more particularly Miami drivers, received the dubious honor of being named the road rage capital of the U.S. for three years in a row. For drivers who have little patience and short tempers, the worst place to drive is apparently Florida.
What is Road Rage?
Florida law defines road rage, or aggressive driving, as violent or aggressive behavior that stems from a driver’s uncontrolled rage due to the actions of another driver. Some examples of aggressive driving or road rage include the following:
- Hitting another vehicle with your car.
- Running another vehicle off the road.
- Pulling to the side of the road, getting out of the vehicle, and starting a confrontation with another driver.
- Using a weapon to inflict harm on another vehicle or driver.
Aggressive driving, or road rage, can also result in illegal driving maneuvers as a result of the emotional distress. If you are driving a vehicle and find yourself engaging in any of the following behaviors, you may be an aggressive driver:
- Cutting other drivers off.
- Not using turn signals.
- Verbally or mentally cursing at other drivers.
- Speeding, honking, or flashing your headlights.
If you find yourself driving aggressively, you should immediately take steps to calm down and avoid causing further incidents, or worse yet, an accident, while driving.
Who Gets Road Rage?
Nearly everyone is susceptible to aggressive driving and road rage, but studies have shown that young male drivers are the most likely to engage in road rage and aggressive driving. Remember, anyone can experience aggressive driving or road rage, but if you fall into the above category, you should take extra caution to keep your emotions and actions in check while on the road.
What Causes Road Rage?
Often it is not the driver that is the target of your rage that was the start of the problem. Road rage is often a result of an incident that happened somewhere else and the frustration can influence how you behave while driving. If you find yourself in any of these situations, be careful how your actions influence your behavior while driving:
- Getting into an argument or getting fired at work.
- An argument with a spouse or significant other.
- Running late and being in a rush to get someplace on time.
- Kids misbehaving in the car.
Regardless of whether you find yourself in one of the above situations, it is important to practice courteous and safe driving. Remember that everyone on the road is trying to get safely from one place to another.
Ways to Prevent Road Rage
Before driving, there are steps that you can take so you and the drivers around you will not be tempted to engage in road rage and aggressive driving behavior.
- Put on soothing music.
- Keep a good amount of space between you and other vehicles.
- Refrain from making rude gestures or prolonged eye contact with other drivers.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.
- Do not provoke another driver who is already driving aggressively.
Road Rage Accidents on the Rise
Between 2014 and 2016, Florida had more road rage incidents than any other state, with a total of 147 incidents. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration report that 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive drivers, 37% of aggressive driving incident involve the use of guns, and 50% of drivers who are on the receiving end of an aggressive driver’s behavior respond back with additional aggressive behavior.
Remember that if you and your family have an accident that is road rage related and someone is injured, your best bet for compensation is to not have any fault in the accident. This means that you should never try to take matters into your own hands.
What to Do If You Have Been in an Accident
If you have been in a car accident involving road rage, it is important that you first get emergency assistance for anyone who needs it. Call 911 and follow the instructions that the dispatcher gives you. Next, if you are able to, document everything that you can remember about the moments leading up to the accident. Take pictures of the accident scene, automobiles, and surroundings.
Gather the names and contact information of all parties involved and people who witnessed the accident. Be sure to answer the questions of law officers to the best of your ability, but do not make any assumptions about what happened and never admit any fault, even if you feel like you might have been partially responsible for the accident.
Be sure that you see your medical doctor as soon as possible, even if you do not feel like you are injured. It sometimes takes days or even weeks for an injury to show symptoms. Have your doctor document your accident in your medical chart.
Speak with a Personal Injury Attorney
Receiving compensation for your damages and injuries after an accident involving road rage or aggressive driving can be challenging. An experienced personal injury attorney can investigate your accident and determine the best possible course of action for your case. Be sure that you do not sign any documents from an insurance agent or accept any offers of compensation before getting legal advice. If you or your loved one has been injured in a road rage accident, contact the attorneys at Brill & Rinaldi to schedule a consultation at one of our convenient Florida locations.