How do I deal with an aggressive South Carolina driver?
When you’re driving, it is easy to become frustrated with other drivers sharing the road with you. On any given trip, it wouldn’t be unlikely to be stuck behind a car traveling too slow or to encounter vehicles where the driver is clearly driving while distracted. There’s also traffic, road work, and no shortage of other reasons why your trip isn’t going as smoothly as you would prefer. Feeling frustrated is normal, but can become an issue when it escalates into something much more serious: road rage.
If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by road rage in South Carolina, an experienced car accident attorney can be an asset to you and your family. Not only will your attorney advocate for you in court or with the insurance company, they can also investigate the accident, leaving you the chance to rest and recover with your family.
What is the Difference Between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving?
Though road rage may contain elements of aggressive driving, there is actually an important distinction between the two. Aggressive drivers may tailgate, speed, and weave in and out of traffic, for example.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as “the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” Though their actions may be dangerous to other drivers, their actions are considered a traffic offense instead of a criminal one.
In contrast, road rage is classified as a criminal offense, as it describes aggressive driving that has turned violent. Displays of road rage may include using a vehicle to retaliate for an earlier slight, chasing a vehicle, or even brandishing a weapon. Road rage is a serious offense — one that can even escalate to murder, in extreme cases — and it is taken very seriously by the law.
What Causes Road Rage?
There are a number of issues that can contribute to road rage. Some of the triggers may be:
- High Stress — If drivers have other major stressors in their life, it makes them more likely to have less patience when driving. The road rage may not happen as a result of a singular event, but rather one event on top of everything else going on in their life at the time.
- Running Late — If a driver is in a hurry to get somewhere because they are running late, they are likely to have less patience with traffic and other inconveniences.
- Heavy Traffic — Having to sit for a long time with little to no movement can trigger frustration and make instances of road rage more likely.
- Sleep Deprivation — Drivers who are operating on insufficient sleep may be more likely to snap and become irritated at minor annoyances.
- Anonymity — Being in a car offers a degree of anonymity as it puts a buffer between you and the other people on the road. Your car may obscure your body, and also put you in a position to speed off without ever knowingly seeing the same people you were stuck in traffic with again. The anonymity may cause people to act in ways that they never would normally in their regular life.
What Does Road Rage Look Like?
Road rage can manifest itself in many different ways, including:
- Yelling/Gesturing/Honking/Cursing at Other Drivers
- Blocking vehicles from lane changes
- Running a vehicle off the road
- Cutting off another vehicle intentionally
- Ramming another vehicle intentionally
- Leaving the vehicle to confront another driver
- Brandishing a weapon to threaten another driver
What Should I Do When Confronted with an Aggressive Driver?
Unfortunately, South Carolina has seen an increase in both aggressive driving and road rage in the past year.
Robert Woods, the director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, said, “We have been seeing a disturbing increase in aggressive driving behaviors, including speeds of over 100 mph, tailgating, drunken or drugged driving and road rage.”
However, there are steps that you can take to help ensure your safety when dealing with an aggressive driver. If you do find yourself in a situation where you have to deal with road rage, try to stay calm and keep these tips in mind:
- Leave Early — You are less likely to become frustrated or irritated yourself if you have plenty of time to safely get to your destination. If you aren’t in a rush, you are less likely to engage in risky driving activity that may inadvertently trigger road rage from someone around you.
- Be a Polite Driver — When driving, be patient with other drivers around you. Everyone has bad days, and you never know what is going on with the people around you on the road. Try to extend courtesy and grace and treat other drivers the way you would if you were face to face with them. This also extends to not using your horn excessively, and other driving behaviors that could be seen as rude.
- Do Not Engage with Aggressive Drivers — If confronted with someone who is driving aggressively or demonstrating road rage, do your best to ignore that driver. Do not make eye contact or otherwise engage with these drivers. If you are being followed by an aggressive driver, do not allow them to follow you home. If you feel it necessary, you can pull over on the side of the road or at a police station until the situation has de-escalated.
- No Confrontations! — Even if it seems like a good idea at the time, it is never a good idea to leave your vehicle to confront another driver. Choosing to do this could put your life in danger. It is never worth the risk.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney in South Carolina
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident due to someone else’s road rage, contact an experienced car accident attorney in South Carolina. Auger & Auger has almost 40 years of combined experience working with and fighting for victims of car accidents.
Call us today at 800-559-5741 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. We will listen to the specific facts of your case and provide you with detailed, personalized advice about how to move forward with the best chance of being compensated for the aftermath that occurred as a result of your accident — whether it’s damage to your property or physical, and/or emotional well being.
Contact us today, so we can get started working for you!