Driving is a complex task that requires your full concentration and focus. There are plenty of things that can affect driving ability, including alcohol consumption, sleep deprivation, prescription and over-the-counter drug usage, and ordinary distractions like cell phone usage. Drivers’ emotional states can also impact their decisions and behavior behind the wheel, and drivers who are frustrated, angry, and aggressive are particularly dangerous to themselves and to others.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that road rage is becoming more common on America’s roadways. In 2006, there were 80 road rage-related fatal traffic accidents. That number grew to 467 in 2015—an increase of nearly 500 percent. It’s vital for all Oklahoma drivers to be aware of this danger and to know how to avoid others who are affected by it and how to control their own negative emotions behind the wheel.
Be on Alert for These Signs of Road Rage in Other Drivers
Being on guard and alert when you see a vehicle moving erratically is a good rule of thumb, as the driver may be intoxicated, impaired, or even having a medical emergency. However, there’s also another possibility—road rage. Drivers who experience road rage let their emotions get the best of them, and their judgment and decision-making skills may be significantly impaired.
If you notice any of the following behaviors, it could be a sign that the driver has road rage:
- Speeding—Speeding is one of the most common traffic law violations, but it can sometimes have a more aggressive cause. Road rage is often the result of running late or heavy traffic, and drivers may take out their frustrations by speeding whenever they get the chance, increasing their risk of an accident.
- Tailgating—Drivers who feel like they’re being held up by heavy traffic, or who think they were cut off by other motorists, may tailgate vehicles to harass or intimidate other drivers. If you’re being tailgated, turn on your blinker and change lanes as soon as it’s safe to do so.
- Honking—Vehicle horns are designed to be attention-grabbing and heard from long distances away. Unfortunately, that makes them ideal for road rage-afflicted drivers to loudly express their displeasure and frustrations.
- Staring or gesturing—Drivers experiencing road rage often want to start confrontations with other drivers, especially when they’re driving or stopped near them. If a driver ever glares at you or gestures at you from their vehicle, don’t engage with them and continue looking straight ahead.
- Ramming—In rare cases, angry drivers may even intentionally cause collisions by ramming their vehicles into others. If a driver with road rage ever rams or crashes into your vehicle, call 911 right away, lock your doors, and stay inside your vehicle until police arrive.
Stay Cool, Calm, and Collected Behind the Wheel with These Tips
Road rage can range from full-blown aggression towards other drivers to momentary lapses in judgment due to anger and frustration. Because safe driving requires a level head and a steady focus on the task at hand, it’s important to never let yourself fall victim to your own anger when you’re behind the wheel of a vehicle. You can reduce your risk of contributing to America’s road rage problem by following these tips:
- Leave early—Traffic jams are common throughout cities in Oklahoma, but if you aren’t racing against the clock, you’ll be able to handle them with more patience.
- Don’t drive sleepy or fatigued—Sleep deprivation has many negative effects on people, including a reduced tolerance for frustration. Many drivers who experience road rage are also sleep deprived, causing them to develop short fuses and inappropriate emotional responses to stressors.
- Avoid aggressive or up-tempo music—If you’re prone to anger and frustration behind the wheel, your music may be contributing to the problem. Studies show that songs with fewer beats per minute can produce a calming effect on drivers, while songs with more beats per minute produce the opposite effect.
We Help Road Rage Accident Victims Get Compensation
When drivers fail to uphold their duty to drive safely, whether by speeding, driving while impaired or distracted, or by giving in to road rage, they should be held liable for any damages that result from accidents they cause. At Parrish DeVaughn, our Oklahoma car accident lawyers know what it takes to build strong compensation claims for innocent victims of auto accidents, including those who were injured by angry and aggressive drivers.
If you or someone you love was hurt in a road rage-related crash, you need experienced legal representation on your side. Contact us today. We’re available to review your claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and there’s no charge unless we get money for you.