Americans are famous for exercising their rights to free speech, and unfortunately, this protected right is manifesting itself into what some would call aggressive driving antics and in certain instances, road rage. More and more this kind of driving behavior is being displayed on our streets and highways all around St Augustine. Make a mistake on the road and it is easy for the other driver to make some obscene gesture for what was once considered just a simple mistake and forgiven. Recent studies are showing aggressive driving and road rage incidences are on the rise and this is affecting St Johns county drivers, now more than ever.
The U.S. Department of Transportation defines road rage as an “uncontrolled anger” that results in violence or the threat of violence towards another. Motorists, passengers, and even pedestrians are not immune to these kinds of behaviors being pointed towards them. Road rage is criminal behavior and can be prosecuted under existing Florida laws. Road rage is also “an extreme act of aggressive behavior”. It differs from aggressive driving, in that aggressive driving does not display a violent action.
Aggressive driving can include a number of driving tactics including speeding up and slowing down to annoy another driver, driving too close to the rear of another vehicle (tailgating) making abrupt lane changes, honking horns, yelling out the window, making obscene gestures and sudden breaking to anger the other driver. Although these techniques can be potentially dangerous, they are not considered criminal behavior. Studies have shown that the majority of American drivers have exhibited some form of aggressive driving over the past year. Though these actions are not criminal, they are, in fact, dangerous and can lead to an escalation of the situation, sometimes ending in a road rage encounter.
Are We Sensitive to the Way Other People Drive?
Unfortunately, the driving habits exhibited by other drivers are getting on our nerves. It is hard to drive for any length of time and not witness some sort of aggressive driving being displayed. More drivers than at any other time in our history are entering our already congested traffic, placing undue stress on the majority of drivers. More often than not, road rage behaviors are precipitated by other drivers failing to practice safe driving techniques. Cell phone usage, texting, and distracted driving all contribute to causing other drivers to become frustrated and angry.
What to do if you’re a Victim of Road Rage
If you are the victim of a road rage attack, don’t engage. Try and let cooler heads prevail, especially if the other driver is demonstrating dangerous or threatening motions against you. Do not escalate the situation by getting angry yourself or start yelling back or honking. Simply try not to make any eye contact and do not retaliate in any way. If the situation escalates to what you consider to be dangerous, slow down and move over, away from the other driver. Usually, your lack of willingness to engage will work to diffuse the situation. If the other driver becomes more aggressive, call 911 and report the incident immediately. Do not pull over to the side of the road, as this might invite the aggressor to think you want a confrontation. Do not get out of your car. If the driver starts to follow you, slow down and drive to the nearest police station. If you don’t know where one is, look for a busy place to park, stay in your car and call the police. Try and remain as calm as you can. If you remain composed, often
–times this reduces the aggressor’s hostility towards you. If confronted, try and diffuse the situation by any means possible. If you are a witness to road rage, call 911 and report the incident. Always move away from harm’s way if you can.
St Augustine Car Accident Injury Lawyer
If you, a family member, or a friend have been injured in a car accident, truck or motorcycle accident, you need legal advice and counsel from an experienced St Augustine personal injury attorney like Will Kurtz. Will has been representing injured victims and their families for years. Will and his professional staff have handled just about every type of injury case and recovered millions of dollars in claims. Will Kurtz understands insurance company tactics, especially those used to reduce your fees for injuries sustained in an accident. Call Will today at 904-674-3390, there are no fees or costs unless we win money for you, and our consultations are always free.