What is road rage?

Road rage is aggressive and angry behavior from someone driving a vehicle. Road rage can manifest itself through verbal altercation, by yelling or screaming at someone else like another driver, or even a pedestrian or a cyclist. Physical road rage shows itself by driving unsafely, often too closely behind another vehicle in order to intimidate. Other intimidation methods include horn honking, speeding, stopping abruptly, turning without signaling, swerving, or trying to start a fight. Road rage is generally an important factor in aggressive driving.

What is aggressive driving? 

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is when an individual violates traffic safety with the intention of endangering or harming another person or property. 

Statistics

Anyone can become angry when driving. According to The Zebra, a car insurance comparison website, distracted driving, tailgating, and being cut off in traffic were the behaviors that were most likely to enrage drivers. The most witnessed act of road rage was angry honking, followed by rude hand gestures. Other common indications include yelling, blocking cars, or even fighting. 

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, over 75% of American drivers admit to driving aggressively. An average of 30 murders occur each year as a result of road rage. Males and people ranging in age from 25-39, are most likely to exhibit signs of road rage and aggressive driving. 

Speeding is one of the most common methods of aggressive driving. According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, in one-third of all fatal accidents, speeding is a predominant factor. 

Ohio Law

While Ohio does not have any laws specifically revolving around road rage or aggressive driving, certain actions could fall under Ohio’s reckless operation law. According to the Ohio Revised Code, “no personal shall operate a vehicle…on any street or highway in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property.”  A first violation of this law results in a minor misdemeanor. If the offender has had another vehicle or traffic violation within a year, it becomes a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

Ohio Rev. Code Ann. § 4511.20 

What causes road rage?

There are many reasons why a driver may become enraged while operating their vehicle. According to WebMD, one reason is that the person may just be angry in other parts of their life and the rage has flowed into their driving style. An incident may have happened that put them in an angry mood before driving. Second, a driver may become enraged after seeing so many other drivers talk or text on their cell phones. A driver who is talking on their cell phone may become angry because of the conversation. Other triggers include bad weather or when other drivers drive poorly or angrily. 

Do you have road rage?

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, if you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be putting yourself and others at risk when you drive.

  • Do you speed excessively?
  • Do you tailgate?
  • Are you always racing to beat that red light?
  • Do you run stop signs?
  • Do you weave in and out of traffic?
  • Do you pass illegally on the right?
  • Do you fail to yield the right of way to oncoming vehicles? 

What to do if you are prone to road rage.

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be prone to road rage. It is best to calm yourself down before driving. Make sure to get plenty of rest if you know you have to drive. Limit your alcohol use, especially before driving, as alcohol can make some people angry and impair your driving. Leave an extra 10-20 minutes before you were originally planning. This should give you plenty of time to get to your destination. Put on relaxing music and be mindful while you drive. Keep your mind on the road. 

Make sure to be extra cautious of pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians and cyclists have the right of way at intersections. Make sure not to speed, especially in residential areas. 

Is insurance affected by road rage?

It does not pay to drive in an aggressive or harmful manner. According to Progressive Insurance, aggressive driving or road rage may affect one’s insurance coverage. This is especially true for drivers that have monitors that track driving habits. This, for example, will monitor speeding or breaking quickly and prove that someone is regularly an unsafe driver. Driving angrily may lead to a higher number of traffic citations and accidents. Coverage goes up generally after the second offense in a three-year time period. Having multiple traffic violations could make someone a risky driver, which may make someone lose their insurance coverage entirely.  

What to do if you are near someone with road rage

It is always best to avoid confrontation with an aggressive driver and be a cautious and considerate driver yourself. Try your best to get out of their way, and change lanes if they are tailgating you. Do not return gestures. Stay behind and maintain a safe distance away from the aggressive driver. Do not make eye contact. Do not engage with the aggressive driver. Use your horn only when necessary. Make sure to always signal before changing lanes. 

If you are a pedestrian or cyclist, do not jaywalk, and be sure to only cross at designated cross walks. Always walk on the pavement. If there is not a sidewalk, walk against traffic on the far left side. If it is dark, or the weather is bad, make sure to wear bright and reflective clothing.

What you should do if you are involved in a road rage accident

Unfortunately, accidents happen. If you have been involved in a road rage related accident, first make sure that you are physically okay. If you are experiencing pain, call 911 and seek medical care immediately. Next, call a personal injury lawyer, like us. Look at the damage, whether it be you, your bicycle, or your vehicle, noting and taking pictures of what has been hit and where. Get the other driver’s insurance information and call the police so they can file a report. 

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