Last June, road rage on a Harris County road resulted in a man getting shot and killed. The incident has prompted many drivers in the area to ask if local drivers are becoming more erratic. According to officials from TxDot, they are a problem in the state.
"There's a lot of aggressive driving that we're seeing out there," said Danny Perez from TxDOT. "Just keep your emotions in check when you get on the road."
While TxDOT hasn’t supplied road rage statistics, research on the national level indicates that the problem presents an accident risk to all drivers on the road. One major study using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that aggressive driving was a factor in 56% of fatal accidents in a 4-year period.
According to the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), about two gun-related incidents take place on roads in the United States each day. It also found that 50% of drivers tailgate purposefully and 12% of drivers cut off other cars intentionally.
In other words, road rage is a problem that places drivers throughout Texas and the nation at unnecessary risk.
Aggressive Driving vs. Road Rage
Generally, there are two terms used to describe purposefully reckless driving: aggressive driving and road rage. Aggressive driving occurs when a person drives in a way that shows disregard for safety and puts others at risk.
According to the TDI, aggressive driving can include:
- Speeding and weaving through traffic
- Cutting off a car and slowing down in front of it
- Running red lights
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Blocking cars from passing or changing lanes
- Passing a vehicle on the wrong side of the road
When aggressive driving is severe, it can escalate to road rage, an event that can lead to violence. Road rage can include aggressive driving practices listed above, but can also involve other actions.
Instances of road rage include:
- Cursing or gesturing at other drivers
- Throwing objects
- Purposefully hitting another vehicle
- Forcing a vehicle off the road
- Physically assaulting a driver
Statistics reveal that road rage accidents are most likely to occur during rush hour—nearly 25% take place between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays. While stress is likely to blame for many of these instances, there’s no excuse for driving in a way that might harm others.
Can I Sue Someone for Aggressive Driving or Road Rage?
Typically, the only thing that can be done to stop aggressive drivers is getting the involvement of law enforcement. However, if the behavior of an angry or aggressive driver triggers a serious car accident, you might be able to sue them for negligence.
All drivers on the road are legally required to follow the law and drive in a way that protects those around them. This includes following speed limits, paying attention to road conditions, and making sure all maneuvers are safely accomplished. Aggressive drivers often throw these obligations out the window, putting those near them at risk of serious injury.
When drivers have road rage and cause an accident, they can be held accountable for the injuries they cause. Survivors of accidents caused by unsafe, aggressive drivers are often able to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. If a family loses a loved one because of a preventable accident, they might have the option to hold the negligent party accountable for the wrongful death.
To find out if you have a claim after an accident caused by an aggressive driver or road rage, call our car accident lawyers today at (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.