What is Road Rage?
Road rage is a continuing concern for drivers in Ohio and throughout the United States. It typically is triggered or preceded by an act of aggressive driving, which is responsible for a “substantial” number of accidents each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A victim injured as the result of an accident involving aggressive driving or road rage may have grounds to pursue compensation in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. Legal action would target the liable driver(s) and his or her applicable insurance company.
Ohio doesn’t have a specific road rage law. The Ohio State Highway Patrol describes road rage as a term invented by the media to refer to “emotion-based reckless, aggressive and intimidating driving.” Road rage behaviors are covered under a variety of specific criminal and traffic offenses, including reckless operation, impeding, assault and menacing.
Common Triggers for Road Rage Accidents
Road rage incidents – including auto accidents – often can be traced to actions taken by one or more drivers involved in the event.
The OSHP lists some of the common precursors as:
- making eye contact with an aggressive driver;
- switching lanes without signaling;
- tailgating or following the vehicle ahead too closely;
- driving below the speed limit in the passing lane;
- making obscene gestures or statements;
- excessive horn honking; and
- otherwise engaging an aggressive driver.
An aggressive driver prone to road rage may retaliate to these perceived provocations with dangerous behaviors, such as sideswiping another vehicle or following another vehicle closely and at high speeds.
When Road Rage Leads to an Accident and Injuries
Road rage can quickly escalate to a dangerous or even deadly situation. An aggressive driver who allows emotions to overtake his or her actions may put dozens or more at risk for injury or death. The initial drivers are not the only people in danger during a road rage incident – innocent bystanders and other drivers easily can become entangled in road rage crash.
Examples of a road rage-induced accident could include:
- Driver A mistakenly cuts off Driver B during rush hour on the freeway. Driver B whips around traffic until his car is in front of Driver A in the far left lane. He then slams the brakes and causes a rear-end collision.
- Driver A honks at Driver B for failing to yield the right of way. Driver B then follows Driver A for several blocks, driving erratically and speeding before eventually driving through a red light and striking a pedestrian.
- Driver A and Driver B argue over a parking spot. Driver A then rams her car into Driver B’s automobile as a form of retaliation.
A car accident lawyer in Columbus is the best choice to help collect evidence in an accident case involving suspected road rage. They will know the laws specific to your state and have experience determining how aggressive driving played a role in the accident.