Perhaps you’ve felt it yourself, maybe you know someone who’s experienced it, or it’s possible that you have come across it yourself in traffic. Road rage. Unfortunately, our state has a problem with this particular bad behavior, and it causes some unfortunate accidents and even assaults. There have been studies done on road rage, including factors concerning the individuals driving, and factors on the road that seem to inspire this type of aggressive driving.
Road rage can be a very dangerous behavior to come across, and if you are the target of the aggressor, it can be terrifying to experience. If you are ever unfortunate enough to become a victim of someone else’s road rage, leaving you injured whether from an accident they caused, or following an assault, it is important that you know how to file a personal injury claim.
What is road rage?
We have all heard of road rage, but what exactly does it encompass? In the 1990s, the media became more aware of a growing trend of aggressive driving, and first came up with the term “road rage.” Road rage is when a driver displays extreme aggression with their driving. This aggression comes from anger, usually toward a traffic situation or another driver. Road rage is intended to cause verbal or physical harm.
Since the term was first created, legislators have made severe road rage a criminal offense, while aggressive driving can see a driver pulled over for a traffic violation. If injured, road rage personal injury lawyers can help you get restitution from the at-fault driver.
At the end of September of this year, an instance of road rage made the news. From a report by KFOR (a TV news station out of Oklahoma City), a 17-year old boy was assaulted and beaten around the face after an aggressive driver cut him off on an exit ramp. The boy sustained injuries to his face including a large cut to his bottom lip and a chipped tooth. The young man had to seek medical attention at a local hospital after the incident.
This is just one example of extreme road rage in our state. While each instance is unpredictable there are subtle signs that point to Oklahoma drivers resorting to aggressive tactics more frequently than other states.
While aggressive driving is not the same as road rage, aggressive driving is a part of road rage. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Road rage poses a more immediate and deliberate threat of violence and harm to those around them.
The website Bankrate gives great examples of what road rage looks like. Usually, road rage consists of:
- Rude or inflammatory gestures
- Hitting, bumping, sideswiping or ramming another vehicle
- Use of headlights or brakes to intimidate or harass other drivers
- Forcing another car off the road
Road rage in Oklahoma
According to a recent study by Forbes, our great state ranks fourth in the country for “most confrontational drivers.” Ahead of us are Colorado, Missouri, and Utah. The report offers some troubling statistics, saying:
Drivers in the Sooner State were the third most likely in the nation to say that another driver in their state has exceeded the speed limit to block their car from changing lanes (43%), tied with New Mexico and Wyoming. They also ranked third for being forced off the road by another driver (9%), tied with Alabama and Delaware.
More than half (52%) of Oklahoma drivers were the recipient of rude or offensive gestures. Sooners also frequently reported being tailgated (66%) or honked at (69%). Just over 20% report knowing someone who was injured in a road rage incident.
That means more than one in five Oklahomans know someone who was hurt due to someone’s road rage. The local police have also noticed more incidents of road rage, especially in and near cities.
In Oklahoma, there is no law against road rage, but there are laws against causing dangerous situations in traffic, such as side-swiping another car, swerving in front of another car and hitting the brakes, and brandishing a gun while driving.
Bankrate also reports that road rage incidents caused 218 murders and 12,610 injuries over a period of seven years, and that speeding is often a factor in road rage, recognizing that being late is one of the most reported reasons for road rage.
What to do if you become the focus of someone’s road rage
As aggressive driving and road rage seem to be quite common, it is a good idea to learn how to best avoid aggressive drivers and incidents of road rage. Of course, you should always try to follow the laws and rules of the road, but you should also:
- Keep a safe distance between your car and other cars on the road
- Always use your directionals
- Allow room for others to merge
- Try not to use rude hand gestures or inflammatory language
- Remember to be patient, even if you are just waiting for a parking space to open up
- Use your high beams only when you need assistance with seeing the road
Even if you practice defensive driving tactics, you may find yourself the subject of an aggressive driver who injures you during an instance of road rage. It is important to know that you should not have to pay for the damages to your car or for the injuries you suffered. With a determined and experienced personal injury lawyer, you can seek compensation from the at-fault driver.
There is no excuse for road rage, as anger directed toward someone else in a violent manner is always wrong, whether you’re in a car or not. At Biby Law Firm, our Tulsa injury attorneys will fight to make sure that you do not suffer any more than you have been forced to do already. If you have been involved in a road rage accident, call us at 918-574-8458 or use our contact form. Initial consultations are always free.
Jacob Biby has spent his legal career helping folks just like you get the resources they need after an injury. He completed his undergraduate degree at Oklahoma State University and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa in 2008. Jacob is licensed to practice in all Oklahoma state and federal courts, and has limited his career to representing individuals and families who were injured by the negligence of other people or corporations. Learn more about Jacob Biby.