Aggressive Acts Not Limited To Young Thugs
On almost a weekly basis, the local news carries a report of an aggressive driving or road rage incident. The latest report is about an 83-year-old man who is facing attempted murder charges in Miami after allegedly shooting at another vehicle in the middle of the afternoon.
According to the news, the driver was stopped at a traffic light when another vehicle tried to get in front of the alleged shooter’s car. The alleged shooter used his car to block the other vehicle, got out of his car with a .38 caliber handgun, and shot at the trapped car. Police say that the bullet went through the driver’s side window and grazed the driver on the arm. As the wounded man tried to drive away, the alleged shooter took several more shots.
Police eventually stopped the alleged shooter and took him into custody on an attempted murder charge.
Aggressive Driving And Road Rage
The term aggressive driving encompasses a category of dangerous driving behaviors such as following too closely, driving at excessive speeds, weaving through traffic, and running stop signs and stop lights, among other things.
Road rage describes angry and violent behaviors at the extreme end of the aggressive driving continuum. It can involve anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault and even murder. Road rage (beyond yelling and gesticulating) is a criminal offense.
Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other sources show the extent of the aggressive driving and road rage problem in our communities, and provide the following information:
- Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive behavior respond with a rude gesture;
- 66 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving;
- 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a gun; and
- Over a seven-year period, over 12,500 injuries and over 200 murders were related to road rage.
Staying Safe Around Aggressive West Palm Beach Drivers
While it is sometimes tempting to retaliate against a fellow motorist who is behaving like a jerk, it is important for drivers to keep their own anger in check because there is no way of knowing which motorists will snap to the point of killing.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety makes the following suggestions to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim of an aggressive driver:
–Don’t offend – be careful of your own personal driving habits, especially by not cutting off other drivers, not driving too slowly in the passing lane, and avoiding tailgating;
–Don’t engage – give an angry driver lots of room, avoid eye contact, and get help by calling 911 or driving to a safe place;
–Don’t take it personally – try to relax when driving and avoid turning driving into a competition; and
–Wear your seatbelt – seat belts save lives and reduce the severity of injuries.
It is important to know how to respond to an encounter with an aggressive driver or a road rage situation because knowing how to respond can sometimes lessen the likelihood of an accident.
What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Aggressive Driving Or Road Rage
In Florida, reckless drivers can face criminal and civil penalties when they drive aggressively and cause a car accident. Depending on the facts, Florida law may support civil claims for negligence, assault, battery, false imprisonment, or intentional infliction of emotional distress. Punitive damages may also be available if the road rage conduct involves intentional acts of harm.
Aggressive & Experienced West Palm Beach Auto Accident Attorneys Are Here For You
To find out what types of damages you may be able to recover in a West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, or Orlando road rage accident, contact the aggressive West Palm Beach auto accident attorneys at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates, P.A. at (561) 515-5978.