It seems that traffic in Phoenix gets more congested as every year passes. With the expansive population growth, rapid development of previously rural areas, and booming tourism industry, cars and traffic jams seem to be a part of daily life in The Valley. Whether it is due to a backup of traffic, construction on a roadway, or even a prior car accident, sitting in traffic and seemingly getting nowhere is an incredibly frustrating and stressful event. In fact, it is so stressful that traffic congestion is one of the biggest contributors to the unnecessary evil that is road rage and road rage accidents.
What is road rage?
Frustration and annoyance may be common among drivers but it is up to each individual driver to maintain his or her composure while behind the wheel. Allowing emotions to elevate to reckless actions can lead to road rage, an increasingly common condition where drivers use their vehicles in a reckless or threatening manner.
Arizona laws distinguish between aggressive driving and the more serious action of road rage by stating that road rage is an actual assault on another with a vehicle or other deadly weapon. This means that putting your vehicle in a position that may lead to a collision can be road rage as can driving in a manner that threatens the safety of others. In Phoenix, road rage can be a criminal offense and conviction of a road rage charge can lead to serious penalties including fines and even incarceration.
Factors that Lead to Road Rage
Almost any action that occurs while driving can be a triggering event that leads to road rage.
Surveys among drivers indicate that aggressive driving by others on the road can lead to their own aggressive driving and that can escalate to road rage. Others indicate that actions considered rude or poor driving etiquette spawn road rage in some, like cutting off a driver, failing to use a turn signal, failing to yield the right-of-way, and speeding. Yet others indicate that unsafe driving exhibited by others on a highway cause anger and rage, like seeing a driver texting behind the wheel or driving while distracted.
Road Rage is Illegal in Arizona
Regardless of what happens among drivers on the road, the laws are clear; it is never permissible to use road rage while driving and doing so may lead to serious charges. In fact, those involved in a collision because they were exhibiting road rage behaviors may face stiffer punishments than others involved in a collision that was not based on road rage.
In many cases, road rage stems from interactions between drivers. This starts where one driver does something to offend or upset a second and the second responds in equal measure, leading to a back-and-forth between the drivers that can end up causing a crash. Often, this may involve drivers passing one another repeatedly on a highway with both drivers intent on remaining in front of the other.
While you cannot control the behavior of other drivers, you can control your own behavior behind the wheel. If a driver exhibits dangerous or threatening actions, do not engage with that driver and instead increase the distance between yourself and the aggressive operator. If needed, turn onto another road or call local authorities for assistance. The best way to avoid a road rage collision is to remain aware of those around you and to avoid hazardous situations when possible.
Other Practices to Minimize Road Rage
There are a few things you can do to keep yourself and others safe on the road, regardless of how frustrating you may find the traffic you’re in.
To begin with, stay calm while driving. This will help you not only avoid incidents of road rage but also make you safer.
Use your turning signals to communicate, not your hands or horn. These signs may be interpreted as obscene and incite rage from drivers around you.
Don’t drive too closely to others on the road or compete for a spot in a lane as it may cause unnecessary aggression that can lead to an accident.
And finally, drive in a way that you want others around you to drive. It is so easy to fall into the trap of screaming at someone for not letting you into traffic, then 30 seconds later speeding up so that another driver can get in front you. It is human nature to be competitive, but it is this exact thinking that, if we can avoid it, can help reduce road rage.
Phoenix Road Rage Accident Lawyers
Road rage and the accidents caused by it are taken very seriously by authorities in Phoenix. But many people do not realize that they may have rights if they have been injured in a road rage accident that are distinct from any charges brought by the State.
Regardless of what tickets were issued to an at-fault driver, the victim or victims of a road rage collision may be entitled to seek financial relief for the damages caused by the crash. This can include any medical bills incurred or likely to be incurred in the future, lost wages for time missed from work, and even things like pain and suffering that was endured as a result of the collision.
Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in the Phoenix area may help you understand whether you are entitled to relief, and if so, if you can make a claim against an at-fault driver. The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. believe that all injury victims deserve the right to seek relief and they make it their business to help victims receive exactly that.
If you have been injured by a road rage accident, call us at Abels & Annes, P.C. today. We are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to take your call at (855) 749-5299 or locally at (602) 819-5191 and we will provide you with a free case consultation. There is no obligation on your part for speaking with us and all information discussed will remain confidential.