Does Road Rage Cause Road Traffic Accidents?

4th August 2021 Personal Injury

If you are a driver, you will almost definitely have been on the receiving end of another driver’s road rage at some point or another. Or perhaps you are the guilty party; partial to involuntary spurts of fury when stuck behind a slow moving tractor, for instance. Road rage is a problem that has lived on our streets for decades; however, cases are currently on the rise

With more drivers on the road than ever before and people generally living busier lives, there has been an influx of road rage cases throughout the country in recent years. From shouting obscenities at another driver through the car window, to much more serious acts of violence, the problem is worsening. There are also greatly concerning car-safety risks when drivers become distracted with road rage, risks that have contributed to numerous car accidents and even death

However, there are a number of recommended steps you can take to deescalate a road rage situation before it turns dangerous, as well as manage your own emotions to avoid becoming a threat to others.  

What is road rage?

Believe it or not, road rage is one of the main causes of car accidents. It is characterised as a habitual, intentional, and aggressive approach to driving, without care for others on the road and can be represented in a number of ways, such as physical rude gestures, dangerous driving, verbal abuse, and physical violence. Some of the most common cases of dangerous driving acts caused by road rage include:

  • Braking suddenly in front of another car 
  • Tailgating another driver at a dangerously close distance
  • Speeding
  • Overtaking another vehicle due to impatience 

Together, these acts of road rage make a recipe for disaster, leading people to become distracted and commit road traffic violations that seriously endanger other users of the road. The resulting accidents and collisions can be extremely serious. 

What are the causes of road rage?

There may not be one particular root cause of road rage; however, there are definitely some recurring themes. Mistakes or poor decisions, coupled with a bad response is what it seems to boil down to - a driver sees someone doing something they deem incorrect and reacts with aggression. Here are some of the most commonly associated causes of road rage: 

  • Tailgating
  • Use of phone while driving 
  • Hogging the middle lane on the motorway
  • Dangerously crossing over multiple lanes at late notice to take an exit
  • Overtaking on the inside lane
  • Driving too slow
  • Speeding
  • Littering
  • Not indicating
  • The improper use of full beam lights 
  • Lateness
  • Retaliation

A lot of the above causes of road rage are in fact illegal traffic offences; however, this does not mean that drivers should take matters into their own hands, as this is when catastrophes happen. 

How to deescalate a situation

Sudden acts of aggression can catch you off-guard; however, this is no excuse to retaliate and worsen what could already be a dangerous situation. The best thing you can do to handle another driver's road rage is to ignore them. Do not give them eye contact or show any signs of aggression that may escalate the conflict.

If an angered motorist is tailgating you, create a gap between yourself and the car in front of you to allow for the car behind to overtake. Do not give in to the pressure of a car being close behind you. Drive carefully, reduce speed gradually, or even remove yourself from the situation by taking an exit, away from the enraged driver. 

You should never stop for an in-face confrontation with the aggressive person. Keep driving with your doors locked, and if you’re worried about the other motorist following you, drive to the nearest police station or busy area where there are lots of people around you.

How to prevent your own road rage

If you know you are prone to anger on the roads, there are a number of steps you need to take to ensure that you aren’t a danger to yourself or those around you. One of the best things you can do is give yourself enough time to reach your destination. That way, if you’re stuck in traffic, behind a tractor or learner driver, you can be confident that you have enough time to reach your destination, regardless of the current situation. 

Try to be less reactive and be more understanding of the drivers around you. If a car ahead of you is driving slowly, they may be new to the area, or lost, which can be extremely distressing. It is better to give them the time they need rather than tailgate or blast your horn out of frustration. More often than not, when a driver makes a mistake, they will gesture an apology in the form of a smile or a wave. Be accepting of their acknowledgement and accountability for the mistake they have made. It’s almost certain that they’ll already feel embarrassed or tense, without the added extra of another driver’s aggression. 

Road rage should never get in the way of you, or anyone else, making it home safely. Be courteous, kind, and alert when driving. 

If you have been injured in a car accident that was caused by road rage, call the specialists at JMW Personal Injury today on 0345 872 6666 to get your claim started.

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