What Are Different Types of Road Rage?
July 17th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Aggressive driving is on the rise. In fact, in a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80 percent of drivers in the U.S. admitted that they’d engaged in aggressive behavior or road rage at least once over the past year.
This blog-post will cover different types of road rage, give tips on handling road rage, and answer the question, “Is road rage a criminal offense?”
What is road rage?
Road rage is aggressive or violent behavior usually conducted from behind the wheel. Stressful road conditions can cause impatient drivers to feel frustrated. If they feel insulted or slighted, they may engage in road rage.
There are different types of road rage. Examples include verbal insults and threats, yelling and honking, rude and offensive gestures, cursing, throwing objects, aggressive and dangerous driving methods such as tailgating, blocking another driver, in addition to ramming, sideswiping, or forcing a driver off the road. It’s honestly crazy how many different types of road rage there are!
What is aggressive driving, and how is it different from road rage?
Any unsafe driving behavior, done on purpose and without regard for other drivers’ safety, can be considered aggressive driving. Examples of aggressive driving behaviors include speeding in heavy traffic, cutting off a driver, weaving in and out of traffic, and slamming on the brakes or shining your headlights on other drivers to teach them a lesson. Aggressive driving is provocative and can lead to road rage.
Is road rage a criminal offense?
The most significant difference between aggressive driving and road rage is in the penalty that accompanies it. Generally speaking, if it can be shown that you had the intent to cause harm, it is a criminal offense and you could go to jail, have fines levied against you, or even be convicted of a felony.
On the other hand, aggressive driving can result in misdemeanor traffic tickets, a fine, or perhaps a point on your driving record.
There’s no federal law addressing the issue – each state treats road rage differently. To find out if your state has a road rage law on the books, contact your local DMV.
Don’t take it personally. When a car comes out of nowhere, cuts you off, or leaves you in the dust, it’s easy to want to take it personally and try to get the driver back.
But it’s not personal. It is inconsiderate and rude, yes, but not personal. The driver in the other car has no idea who you are, and you have no idea who he/she is. So take a deep breath, turn on the radio, and change the subject in your mind.
It’s in your own interest to stay calm and collected. Handling road rage in a mature and emotionally healthy manner is the key. Instead of being triggered, controlling and containing your emotions makes you the winner, because you didn’t let the other driver get the best of you.
No one likes the guy who thinks the rules don’t apply to him. The rules of the road prevent anarchy and disorder from breaking out on our freeways and streets, so we all must follow them.
The rules of the road include using turn signals, letting another driver into your lane so he can merge, keeping a safe distance behind other cars, not shining your high beams on other drivers, and only honking your horn when it’s necessary, and never as a punishment.
Follow the rules of the road, keep calm and collected, and reel in the rage. If you do that, the chances that you will encounter road rage will be significantly reduced. In case you are confronted by an angry driver, handling road rage in a manner that de-escalates the situation is always the best approach.
Here are some tips to help you manage and mitigate a confrontation:
- Don’t respond to an aggressive or provocative act. That’s just going to escalate things.
- Try to be understanding and forgiving.
- Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive or angry driver.
- Be polite, don’t raise your voice, and be aware of your tone.
- If you feel threatened, drive to a well lit location, ideally a public place like a police station or hospital.
- Taking out your phone camera and pointing it at them will sometimes be enough to diffuse the situation, but make sure your vehicle has come to a complete stop before using your phone.
- If you feel unsafe, call 911.
In this blog-post we covered a lot of ground. We answered the question, “Is road rage a criminal offense?” (It can be if the perpetrator intended harm.) We reviewed the different types of road rage, and concluded that handling road rage in a calm and courteous manner is the best way to de-escalate a potential confrontation.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Escondido a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing all customers in Escondido, as well as San Diego County neighborhood.
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