One of the most frightening and dangerous situations any driver can find themselves in is a road rage confrontation. It can happen to anyone at any time in any state, whether it’s New Jersey or elsewhere. You can be an experienced driver or a novice.
All you need for this scenario to occur is a hot-tempered motorist whose seemingly irrational anger can quickly reach a flashpoint. You may be the innocent target of that person’s fury unless you know what to do.
The statistics on road rage are disturbing. Two years ago, CNN quoted data gathered in 2016 from the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety that indicated a substantial percentage of drivers engage in aggressive behavior such as angrily using their horn, screaming, tailgating and making gestures at other drivers. More than half — 51% — acknowledged that they tailgate deliberately.
There are many possible underlying reasons for out-of-control actions that are committed by reckless, bad-tempered drivers. Some possible causes are job loss, relationship issues, money woes and difficulty handling anger.
Dealing with another driver’s road rage so you stay safe
- Try to stop road rage from taking place. You have some control over it. Make sure you are not overly stressed when you get behind the wheel. Get enough sleep, don’t cut another driver off and act courteously on when you are on the road. Be careful about using your high beams if you are either in back of or near an oncoming car.
- Defuse situations rather than intensifying them. Let annoying behavior by other drivers go by without responding. If you unintentionally made a mistake that enraged a driver, just wave politely as if you are apologizing. Never ramp up tensions between yourself and another driver.
- If an angry driver is following you, head for a public location where there are people around and honk your horn. You could also choose to dial 911 and go to a nearby police station.
An experienced attorney can be a source of information if you are injured or your vehicle is damaged in a road rage incident.