Many people do not know there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage. For example, an aggressive driver may cut you off or tailgate, while a driver experiencing road rage could run you off the road or ram into you.
Having a bout of road rage usually says more about the person experiencing it than other drivers this person may be reacting to. Stress, anger management issues or being late could trigger someone to get unreasonably angry about other drivers, even though those other drivers may be obeying the rules of the road.
You never know when you may encounter a driver who is experiencing road rage. It is important to be prepared to stay safe, particularly after a crash occurs. There is no telling what someone may be capable of during a bout of road rage.
Staying Safe After a Road Rage Crash
Whenever possible, try to avoid a crash with an angry driver. If someone is honking at you, screaming or making obscene gestures, try to get out of his or her way. Change lanes or slow down to get away from the driver.
Avoid cutting off other drivers and only pull out into an intersection or make a turn if you have enough space to do so. Take note of how fast approaching traffic is moving and make sure you will have enough time to get up to speed before making a turn. You should not count on approaching drivers to obey the speed limit, you need to judge how fast they are going and how quickly you will speed up after you make the turn.
Forcing a driver to brake because of something you are doing could set that person off. They may have already had a stressful day and be prone to getting angry, and all it takes is one little thing to set them off.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid a crash, particularly when another driver intentionally causes one. It is important to get your vehicle out of harm’s way, whenever possible. Pull off to the side of the road as far from oncoming traffic as you can.
If the other driver yells at you or gets out of his or her car and approaches yours, do not engage with them. Do not yell back or make eye contact. Engaging with the driver may only make him or her more enraged.
Call 9-1-1 so first responders can come to the scene, lock your doors and wait for help to arrive. If you are concerned for your safety, you can drive to the nearest police station instead of calling 9-1-1. Drivers are unlikely to try to physically assault you or continue verbally harassing you if you are at a police station. You could also simply drive to a busy public place, like a gas station or mall.
Do your best not to take the driver’s insults personally or let the other driver get under your skin. You do not want to cause things to escalate because you do not know what this other person is capable of. He or she may pull out a gun or begin making physical threats against you.
Seeking Compensation After a Road Rage Crash
Although the crash was likely the result of road rage, you do not need to prove this to recover compensation. Pennsylvania is a no-fault state, which means you file a claim with your own insurance policy first, no matter who is at fault. Fault should only become an issue if your damages exceed the value of your insurance policy.
When the police arrive, inform them of the driver’s behavior before and after the crash. The police will document this in the police report, which should help to prove the other driver’s role in the crash.
Make sure to inform the police if the other driver was tailgating you, speeding or not staying in his or her lane. Sometimes aggressive drivers brake check, which refers to getting in front of another car and slowing down.
Contact Us Today to Schedule a Free Legal Consultation
One of the most important steps crash victims can take is contacting an attorney to help them pursue compensation. You cannot rely on the insurance company to provide full compensation for your injuries, they will be looking for some way to deny or underpay your claim the moment you file it.
Schmidt Kramer’s experienced Harrisburg car accident attorneys have been helping crash victims for decades and we have obtained millions on their behalf. There are no upfront fees or legal obligations, and our attorneys are not paid unless you get paid.
Give us a call today to learn more. Phone: (717) 510-1770.