Here is a statistic that is both tragic and embarrassing for our State: Tennessee has the 3rd most road rage shootings in the nation. A recent study found that in 2020 three people were killed and 25 injured in roadway gun violence. In 2021, five people were killed and 2021 injured in road rage shootings. Of course, these numbers do not reflect the number of accidents caused by road rage or the road rage incidences that resulted in physical violence with things like bats, knifes, bear spray (yes, bear spray), vehicles and objects other than guns. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of road rage, the civil and criminal penalties for road rage and how to avoid being a victim.
Road rage conduct can vary in severity. Honking, yelling, obscene gestures, blocking a vehicle from changing lanes are, sadly enough, on the milder end. Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver, with or without a gun, knife, golf club, baseball bat, pepper or bear spray is at the other end of the spectrum as is using your vehicle as a weapon. If you think giving someone the one-finger salute is not that bad, keep in mind that type of conduct commonly escalates bad behavior from the other driver.
Road rage is never justified but there are common triggers. When a driver is running late, they are more likely to engage in aggressive driving especially when other drivers fail to use turn signals, tailgate, refuse to let a vehicle merge, cut another vehicle off, impede traffic in the fast lane, etc. As such, always try to leave yourself plenty of time to get to your destination so you do not feel the need to drive aggressively. In addition, be courteous on the roadway. Use your turn signal, let someone into traffic, etc.
If you are confronted with a driver engaging in road rage, do not escalate the situation. Do not confront them. Let them go by your vehicle. Get off the interstate or take other steps to get away from them. If necessary, call the police.
For those of you inclined to feeling road rage, remember that your behavior could result in:
- A traffic ticket;
- A criminal charge;
- An accident where you get hurt or killed or someone else gets hurt or killed;
- Higher insurance rates
- A civil suit filed against you and the possible loss of income or assets associated with an adverse result.
Our daughter Kate just obtained her learner’s permit this week. While she is practicing driving, we use Student Driver magnets to let other drivers know that she is learning and to please have more patience. As she was driving, she mentioned the magnets and that she was glad we used them so that other people would cut her some slack. Kate remarked: “we should all treat each other like we are student drivers and just have more patience.” Out of the mouths of babes.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a road rage incident, give us a call and we will discuss your case with you in a free, no-obligation consultation. Our award-winning lawyers handle all accident cases, including road rage cases, on a contingency basis so we only get paid if we recover money for you. To get started, simply give us a call: