Aggressive driving has been a problem on our roadways for many years, and it seems to only be getting worse. It can include rude gestures, verbal insults, threats, driving unsafely on purpose, even harming someone else in a confrontation. These incidents are reported so often that they have been termed road rage.
On May 27, an apparent road rage accident involving a car, an SUV and a school bus sent two people to the hospital, including one student on the bus. The driver of the SUV said he was eastbound on 15 Mile Road near Dequindre when a Honda Pilot turned in front of him. The SUV driver honked his horn and that is when, he said, the other driver became enraged, blocked his car and ripped off the windshield wiper. The SUV driver said when he attempted to go around the Honda driver, the enraged man purposely slammed on the accelerator, hit the SUV and spun it around before the Honda hit a school bus head-on. In addition to one student on the bus, the driver accused of causing the crash was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries. The Honda driver was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, a motor vehicle; and reckless driving
On Memorial Day, a witness recorded an apparent case of road rage, which turned into a violent hit-and-run in Tampa, Florida. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), witnesses said the driver of a vehicle exchanged “words” with a group of motorcyclist before he changed lanes and drove into a bike, knocking the driver and his female passenger to the ground. The driver of the car sped off, but several witnesses followed him until he was caught by police a short time later. The bikers were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be fine. The angry hit-and-run driver was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident involving injury. He is also accused of sideswiping one of the witnesses who followed him.
Unfortunately, it does not look like this problem is going away any time soon. The best thing any driver can do is be considerate, aware, and follow the rules of the road. Here is a list of tips to avoid road rage and prepare for unexpected situations.
- Stay calm and avoid being drawn in by confrontation.
- Error on the side of being courteous and kind to other drivers.
- Always signal and allow plenty of room when changing lanes or merging into traffic.
- Keep a safe distance and avoid tailgating.
- Avoid visible gestures that may anger or frustrate another driver.
- If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room. Their aggression may escalate if you respond in a similar way.
- Don’t react to another driver’s aggression and avoid eye contact.
- Attempt to remove yourself from the situation by slowing down or taking the nearest exit.
- If you think you are in serious danger, call the police or drive to a heavily populated area.
- If the angry driver pursues you, try to pull into the parking lot of a police station or a busy area where other people are around.
The dangers of road rage should never get in the way of safely reaching your destination. Getting home safely is more important than teaching someone a dangerous lesson. Ultimately it’s up to all of us to help prevent road rage. By recognizing these signs in others and ourselves, we can significantly reduce road rage accidents and perhaps help save a life.
Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.