When Does Reckless Driving Boil Over into Road Rage?

A man in Wisconsin traffic succumbing to road rage
When Does Reckless Driving Boil Over into Road Rage?

If you have traveled the rush hour roadways, you have witnessed drivers weaving through traffic or driving too close to another vehicle. The fact is you may be witnessing common signs of reckless driving. 

This is a common phenomenon; people are in a hurry to get home, work, or get their teenagers to their soccer game. Unfortunately, reckless or aggressive driving tactics like these can quickly devolve into road rage.

How Reckless Driving and Road Rage Differ?

Reckless or aggressive driving can result in accidents. The aggressive driver is placing everyone on the roadway at risk because they often operate a vehicle in a manner that disregards many safety rules. The problem is when reckless drivers lose control. That lack of control devolves into a rage with severe consequences for others.

Here are some examples:

  • Aggressive driving often means someone is operating their car by driving too closely to someone else. However, when someone is filled with road rage, they may deliberately tap the car’s bumper in front of them.
  • An aggressive driver may speed up and move over a lane to pass a vehicle in front of them. A road-raging driver operating could shove the driver they believe is in their way into another lane so they do not have to change lanes.
  • Aggressive drivers may move into another lane with little room to do so. A road rage incident may mean that instead of moving into the other lane and continuing to proceed, the driver deliberately pulls in front of someone and slows down their vehicle to prevent the person from getting in front of them.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety provides scary data demonstrating how common road rage incidents are.

A recent survey of drivers reported some scary findings for anyone who travels on the road.

  • 51 percent of drivers surveyed tailgate deliberately
  • 45 percent of drivers honk because they are angry or annoyed
  • 33 percent of drivers make obscene gestures at other drivers
  • 24 percent have tried to stop someone from changing lanes
  • 12 percent of drivers have intentionally cut off another driver
  • 4 percent of drivers have physically confronted another driver

You could suffer a severe injury when you become a victim of a road rage accident. Your life could turn upside down simply because someone could not control their temper.

Road Rage Accident Risks

Car accident victims pay a high price for the actions of drivers who fail to obey traffic laws. When someone exhibits road rage and deliberately causes an accident, the chances of injury are higher than if someone merely acted unsafely. This is often because a road rage driver often deliberately causes serious injuries, including:

When someone is a victim of a road rage accident, they have the right to hold the driver who caused their injury financially accountable for the physical injuries, damage to their vehicle, and the time they lose from work. Victims should seek guidance from a qualified car accident lawyer to fully understand their rights and options.

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Holding Driver Accountable for Injuries and Damages

While most states do not have specific laws about road rage, many have laws against reckless driving. Speeding, ignoring traffic signals, and other aggressive actions can result in criminal charges. However, whether a driver faces a criminal charge for roadway antics is not material.

Victims who suffer injuries can file a claim to help them get compensation for:

  • Medical bills - Any medical expenses incurred due to the trauma suffered in a roadway accident. This could include any unreimbursed fees from the ambulance ride from the scene of the accident and all medical costs associated with treating the injuries suffered in the accident.
  • Wage loss - When recovering from your injuries, you may be required to remain at home or in a rehab facility. You may also need follow-up care, even after returning to work. You can include any income you lose due to an accident in a claim for damages.
  • Pain and suffering - While this type of compensation is often difficult to define, some factors play a role. The level of physical pain resulting from your injury and mental anguish may include PTSD, depression, or anxiety as a result of the trauma from the accident.

Sometimes, the right attorney can fight for punitive damages on your behalf. These damages are typically used to punish a person for their actions if they are egregious.

Insurance Company Adjusters and Road Rage Claims

Russell Nicolet - Managing Attorney at Nicolet Law
Russell Nicolet, Reckless Driving Attorney

After an accident, you will likely report the incident to your insurance agent. You should explain the circumstances without exaggeration. Provide the name of the law enforcement personnel who took the statement at the scene and the information regarding your medical treatment. In most cases, they will contact the other driver's insurer.

Do not speak with the other driver's insurance agency without speaking with an experienced attorney first. They are not there to help you secure payment for your claim. They will not pay your claim if they can get away with it. At a minimum, they will attempt to get you to accept less than what you may be entitled to for your injuries. After an accident involving road rage, you need to know what steps you can take to protect your rights and ensure you have the best chance of getting a fair settlement.

Contact an experienced car accident attorney for help filing your claim and getting the compensation you deserve for your injuries.