A peaceful weekend drive along the Pacific Coast can turn into a scary event if you’re confronted by an aggressive driver. In fact, over 66% of traffic fatalities in California are attributed to aggressive driving behaviors.
Unfortunately, recent reports from the California Highway Patrol reveal that the organization has responded to more incidents involving road rage since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
It can be hard to know what to do when you’re faced with an aggressive driver. Below, we’ll explore some tips to stay safe out on the roads.
Manage Your Own Behavior
Before worrying about other drivers, remember to keep your own behavior in check. While it can be frustrating to get cut off in traffic or to have someone riding your bumper, getting angry yourself can lead to poor decisions.
Instead, consider adapting your behavior by:
- Leaving yourself extra time to get to your destinations
- Leaving plenty of room between cars in front of you
- Signaling before making a lane change
- Using the appropriate lane for your speed
Safe driving starts with you! Remember, California uses a fault-based system to determine liability for car accidents. If your behavior contributes to an accident, it could be difficult to file a claim for your damages down the line. In fact, you could be found to be liable for any damages you cause to others on the road around you, too!
Do Not Respond to an Aggressive Driver
When another driver acts aggressively, it can be tempting to respond in kind, revving your engine, yelling out the window, or otherwise displaying your frustration. Unfortunately, this kind of behavior removes your attention from the road, amplifies the problem, and may lead to an accident or an injury.
Instead, make a conscious choice to get out of the situation as safely and quickly as you can. Whether this means that you get off at the next offramp, slow down to let the other driver pass, or simply avoid eye contact with the other driver, take every action you can to de-escalate the problem.
Report Actions that are Dangerously Aggressive
If you feel that another driver represents a serious threat to your safety, call 911. If you can safely do so, describe the make and model of the car and provide the license plate number to the police.
If aggressive behavior arises after an accident has taken place, call the police right away. Keep your car door closed and your windows up. Do not leave the scene of the accident, but try to stop in a more public setting, when possible.
Consequences of Aggressive Driving
California is unique in that it has a specific vehicle code calling out road rage. California Vehicle Code Section 13210 provides the DMV with authority to suspend an individual’s license for six months for the first road rage offense and one year for a subsequent offense.
Road rage that leads to the endangerment of others can be prosecuted under California’s criminal statutes. Reckless driving is defined as driving with a wanton disregard for the safety of others. A misdemeanor can result in imprisonment in a county jail for up to 90 days.
If you’ve been injured because of the dangerous or aggressive driving of another party, it’s important to secure legal representation right away.
A skilled accident attorney can help you to share your side of the story. They can compile police reports and witness statements, help you to file a claim with an insurance provider, or fight for your rights in court, allowing you to collect any compensation that you might be entitled to receive.
Since 1992, our personal injury attorneys at the Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. have been fighting for the people. Now, when those injured in automobile accidents need financial help, or for the families that need to know that the loss of a loved one could have been prevented, there is a personal injury law firm in San Diego that is on their side.
If you or a family member has been injured, call the lawyers at Pines Salomon Injury Lawyers, APC. There’s never been a better time than right now to speak to a personal injury attorney—FREE of charge. Call us at 858-551-2090 or request a free consultation online today!
SENIOR PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEY & FIRM FOUNDER
Michael Pines is a former insurance company attorney who graduated from the University of California Hastings College of the Law in 1987. While he was an insurance attorney, he learned from behind the scenes how insurance companies work and how they decide how much to pay injured people. Now that he works against insurance companies, Michael’s inside knowledge has resulted in significant benefits to his clients injured in car accidents. Learn more about Michael Pines