Baltimore car accident attorneys know that road rage and aggressive driving have become routine on Maryland’s streets. While we all get frustrated as we move around, some drivers let their emotions get the better of them and they put the lives of road users in jeopardy because of their actions. According to research by the Auto Insurance Center, approximately one deadly accident occurred daily due to road rage in 2016.
The study was based on figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). While there are no readily available statistics on the effects of road rage in Maryland, you’ll want to do your best to avoid aggressive and careless drivers as you travel around Baltimore.
Aggressive Driving and Road Rage Defined
Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes road rage. However, Baltimore car accident attorneys define it most commonly as a violent reaction to aggressive driving. According to the NHTSA, aggressive driving is when a motorist commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Some of the actions that are considered aggressive driving are:
- Improper lane changes
- Failure to yield right of way
- Passing where it’s prohibited
- Driving on the shoulder, ditch, sidewalk or median when prohibited
- Suddenly changing speeds or otherwise driving in a careless, negligent or erratic manner
- Driving above the speed limit or too fast for road conditions
- Racing illegally
- Making improper turns
- Failing to observe traffic officers, signs, devices and laws
- Failing to signal
Meanwhile, road rage is defined as violent behavior that’s directed at another individual in traffic or behavior that incites violence. Aggressive driving is a traffic violation, but road rage can be a criminal offense. Examples of road rage include:
- Making rude gestures
- Honking the horn
- Forcing a driver off the road
- Cutting off another vehicle
- Intentionally hitting another vehicle
- Exiting a vehicle to confront a driver or passenger
- Shooting a gun in the direction of a vehicle
According to the AAA Traffic Safety Foundation, in 2016, almost eight out of ten of drivers displayed significant aggression, anger or road rage at least once in the previous year. At the time, Director of Research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Jurek Grabowski said bad traffic, inconsiderate driving, and the everyday stresses of life can turn minor frustration into dangerous road rage. If you’ve been injured in an accident through no fault of your own but because of someone else’s actions, you deserve compensation. A Baltimore car accident lawyer can help you to recover your losses.
Avoiding Road Rage Crashes
Baltimore car accident attorneys will tell you that anyone can be affected by road rage on a given day. Other motorists may get angry at us and we may become enraged because of something another driver does. It’s important that you don’t let your emotions get the better of you. The last thing you want is to share blame for an accident. You won’t be able to get compensation if you’re even slightly at fault.
To avoid getting caught up in an incident of road rage, you should try not to incite other drivers. Even though you may not be acting aggressively intentionally, you may still make mistakes because of a lapse in judgment. If an action would frustrate you, chances are it’ll frustrate another driver. Some of the things you should avoid doing include:
- Driving slowly in the left lane. This lane is for preparing to make a left-hand turn or passing another vehicle. You should be on the lookout for vehicles approaching from behind so you can move over. If you can’t move to the right-hand lane right away or the other vehicle is making a left turn, signal your intention to move.
- Cutting off another driver. Give yourself lots of room when you merge into traffic or change lanes and always make sure to signal. You should also slow down to let drivers in ahead of you when appropriate.
- The most common traffic accidents are rear-end collisions. It’s no surprise that drivers get angry when other drivers follow them too closely. Try to maintain at least two car lengths between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If someone acts violently toward you, don’t engage them or match their anger.
Contact Pinder Plotkin LLC for Legal Advice
If you have been a victim of a road rage-related car accident, you need to get legal representation. You can claim compensation for your injuries and other losses caused by the other driver’s negligence. Call our Baltimore car accident attorneys to schedule a consultation and learn about how we can help you.