August 22, 2021
What is Road Rage? How to Deal with Road Rage Incidents in New Orleans?
by Evan Breaux | Road Rage | 0 comments
Road Rage

Road rage car accidents and injuries are increasing, not only in New Orleans but across the United States. Altercations based on a driver or passenger’s road rage, aggression, or violence were already a huge national problem—and then the COVID-19 pandemic struck, causing additional stress, tension, anger, loss, and frustration for the American people.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, a global non-governmental organization (NGO), in many areas across the nation, police are reporting a spike of road rage incidents over the past year and a half. 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that, despite a decrease in trips and cars on the road during the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an increase in the fatality rate of the car crashes that did occur; many of these fatalities were related to the use of alcohol, marijuana, or opioids. Everyone is coping with the pain, loss, and stress of a global pandemic, and some are doing so in unhealthy ways—while also taking to the roads.

New Orleans is one of those places where a marked increase in violent crime and road rage accidents is likely linked to an increase in pandemic-related financial difficulties and emotional pain across the population.

It’s natural to become distressed when another driver cuts off your car or falls you in trouble by driving recklessly though,  you should keep calm and act smartly to avoid any kind of loss. 

Road rage accidents are becoming more frequent and making the roads unsafe for the public. Therefore, It’s really important to have knowledge about the causes of road rage and tips to avoid road rage incidents.

Let’s face the facts!

What is Road Rage?

Keep in mind that driving is the most dangerous thing many of us do on a daily basis. It’s important to understand road rage, in order to protect yourself from it and keep you and your passengers safe. It’s also important to have perspective, to drive mindfully, and to develop our own emotional maturity in order to deal reasonably and safely with aggressive or emotionally unbalanced drivers with whom we find ourselves sharing the road. 

Road rage is generally defined as a deliberate, purposeful act of hostility directed toward a specific driver, with the intention of causing harm. It indicates assaulting or endangering other drivers on a roadway while driving under the influence of anger.

Most Common Form of Road Rage

  • Forcing another car off the road
  • Using one’s own vehicle as a weapon
  • Side-swiping another car
  • Ramming into another car
  • Making verbal threats from inside or outside of one’s car
  • Tailgating dangerously close or striking the bumper of another vehicle
  • Braking suddenly and maliciously in front of another vehicle 
  • Harassing a driver with prolonged honking 
  • Pursuing or following another driver
  • Throwing objects at another car or driver
  • Getting out of your car with the intention to injure another driver
  • Physically assaulting another driver or passenger
  • Pulling out a gun and shooting at another car or driver

Is Road Rage a Criminal Offense in Louisiana?

Yes, Road rage is considered a criminal act. Road rage can result in death, and the driver may face negligent homicide charges. As a result of the severity of its consequences, a driver convicted of road rage could be fined, sent to jail, or find themselves convicted of a felony.

What Is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?

Aggressive driving is not the same as road rage but is considered an unsafe driving practice characterized by an intentional lack of concern and care for other drivers on the road. 

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration the difference between aggressive driving and road rage is this: 

Aggressive driving is when an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses that endangers other persons or property and road rage is defined as an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle or precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.

Most Common Examples of Aggressive Driving 

  • Weaving through traffic
  • Excessive speeding
  • Excessive honking
  • Cutting off another car
  • Passing on the shoulder
  • Tailgating
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Failure to signal when changing lanes 
  • Running red lights or stop signs

Aggressive driving, if caught by the police or if it causes an accident, can result in misdemeanor traffic tickets, a fine, a deduction of points on your driving record, and an increase in your auto insurance premium. Although aggressive driving is less direct than road rage, it can still have disastrous effects, and can even cause the death of a driver, passenger, or pedestrian. 

How to Avoid Road Rage Happening to You?

As a driver, you should drive mindfully and calmly, keeping in mind the serious responsibility you have as a driver: You have a responsibility to keep yourself and your passengers safe, and also to keep the other drivers on the road safe. Think about who the other drivers might be. 

The car that cut you off or made a poor choice on the road may be driven by a 16-year-old who only just earned their driver’s license. That teenager might be overwhelmed or may be distracted by their passengers or, worse, their phone. Have compassion for all drivers. Remember that you, too, were once a young driver. 

That car driving too slow on the highway or driving strangely? Perhaps it’s driven by an elderly person who doesn’t want to give up the freedom of their license just yet. We all enjoy driving, and we all deserve to feel safe on the road, so instead of getting angry at another driver, lashing out, flipping them off, or getting so caught up in your emotions that you engage in road rage, try these tips for more mindfulness and safe driving.

Top 10 Points to Prevent Road Rage:

  • Practice defensive driving: “driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others.” Drive as if everyone else is stressed out, not paying attention, new to driving, or having a bad day.
  • Leave yourself enough time to get where you need to go, even if you encounter traffic.
  • If you’re going to be late, don’t rush; call ahead to say you’re en route, but running late.
  • As you drive, take a deep breath in, while counting to five. Then exhale out slowly, while counting to five.
  • Practice sending positive, loving thoughts to the drivers around you. 
  • Imagine that a bad driver is a teenager you know who is so excited to be driving, but still very inexperienced.
  • Or imagine that a bad driver is a person having a medical emergency, rushing themselves or their passenger to the hospital. Maybe there’s a woman giving birth in that car! Maybe the driver is hurrying to the hospital to see a loved one take their last breath.
  • To avoid getting angry or allowing your emotions to blow up, make up stories in your head about why that driver just made that mistake or acted aggressively or stupidly.
  • Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. By keeping your cool, the road will be a safer place for everyone.

If you are regularly experiencing road rage, consider working with a therapist to get to the root of your anger and stress. Learn to identify the main sources of stress in your life, and develop techniques for stress management, like exercise, meditation, or social connections. Address the bigger issue.

For example, if you regularly get upset while stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic, consider making changes in your life in order to reduce the amount of time you are in traffic. Road rage should not be accepted as a normal part of one’s daily existence. It’s not healthy for you, and it’s not healthy for the people you encounter on the road.

What to do if You Encounter an Aggressive Driver?

  • Avoid eye contact with the other driver. 
  • Take a few deep breaths, counting to five each time. This will help you stay calm and relaxed.
  • Get out of the way as safely and quickly as possible. 
  • Do not escalate the situation. 
  • Do not challenge an aggressive driver by speeding up or trying to hold your position. 
  • Ignore gestures. Do not return them. 
  • Rise above the situation, both emotionally and mentally.
  • Think about the other passengers in your car, and the message you are sending to them—especially children. These passengers have entrusted their lives to you. In return, you need to make sure they feel safe and confident in your ability to handle the situation.
  • Do not stop and try to address the conflict on the side of the road. 
  • If you are being followed or the aggressive driver persists in harassing you, drive to a police station or a public place where witnesses are present. 
  • Do not drive home if someone is following you.

What to Do If You Are a Victim of Road Rage?

A minor fender bender can sometimes explode into road rage. This might happen if the drivers argue about who was at fault and the situation escalates. Other times, the road rage could cause an accident, which might be as small-scale as a fender bender, or as major as a fatal accident.

In most cases, the victim of road rage feels mental stress and it affects the decision-making ability. Staying calm under pressure is important to your safety and to de-escalation road rage.

If you have been injured in an accident involving road rage, you should immediately call the police. If you feel unsafe, stay in your car until the police arrive. you need to contact a car accident attorney immediately for legal support and to pursue a claim.

Road Rage Accident Attorney 

An experienced accident lawyer can help you with all the essentials to file a lawsuit against a road raging driver. Attorneys will fight for you to recover compensation from the accused driver and to protect your all legal rights.

As a victim of road rage, your next step should be to reach out to us at Breaux Law Firm right away. We will care for you and fight for you as if you are one of our own family members.

Our experienced attorneys will make sure you’re fairly compensated for your medical bills, property damage, and emotional damages that resulted from your encounter with an aggressive or violent driver.

At Breaux Law Firm, we provide personalized attention and care to each of our clients. Don’t hesitate! Contact the personal injury team at Breaux Law Firm to get started on your recovery with a free consultation today.