Road rage is a dangerous game some people play on Providence-area roads. What starts as a small mishap or careless mistake can quickly spiral out of control — resulting in someone's injury or death.
That's what happened in a 2017 incident on Route 295 in Johnston, according to the Providence Journal. The incident started when the at-fault driver, traveling north, cut off a tow truck driver. After the tow truck driver honked his horn, the passenger car driver reportedly applied his brakes in a provocative manner. As the situation continued to escalate, the driver stopped abruptly in the middle of the road.
This dangerous maneuver set off a chain reaction, causing the driver of a box truck to crash into the tow truck. The driver of the box truck was killed in the crash. In addition, the at-fault driver's passenger was seriously injured.
The at-fault driver was recently convicted and faces up to 15 years in prison.
Incidents like this are just a part of a much larger problem. According to CNN, road rage and aggressive driving are increasingly becoming a threat to public safety.
What is road rage and what causes it?
In most cases, road rage involves yelling, rude gestures, and antagonizing other drivers. It usually doesn't escalate beyond that. Road rage becomes especially dangerous, however, when drivers purposely use their cars in a way that could cause harm. The CNN article cites a 2016 AAA study that polled drivers on how often they engage in road rage.
Most drivers admitted to expressing anger behind the wheel, but less commonly, other drivers admitted to engaging in outright dangerous behavior. This includes:
- Tailgating — 51%
- Intentionally blocking other drivers from changing lanes — 24%
- Deliberately cutting off other drivers — 12%
- Intentionally ramming into another vehicle — 3%
- Exiting a vehicle to engage in a violent confrontation — 4%
For most people, road rage occurs when another driver makes a careless mistake. Some people may become defensive after being honked at, yelled at, or given a rude gesture. As both parties involved continue to escalate the situation, violence can erupt or a serious crash could occur.
These factors play a major role in road rage incidents:
- Stress — which can include the daily pressure of juggling a busy schedule, or something more serious such as a job loss.
- Lack of accountability — some drivers feel safe engaging in road rage from inside their vehicle, but would likely never exhibit the same behavior in other situations.
- Lack of regard for others — some drivers feel that their presence on the road is more important than others, and feel that other drivers are inconveniencing them.
What can be done to prevent road rage?
If you notice a driver aggressively weaving through traffic, tailgating, speeding, or acting in an otherwise erratic manner, it's best to keep your distance from them if you can. Never attempt to try to get even with them, chase after them, or engage them in any way.
When a driver becomes aggressive towards you, simply avoid eye contact and do your best to ignore them. If a driver exits his or her car or follows you, keep windows shut and doors locked, then either call the police or drive to the nearest police station.
When someone else's aggressive driving or road rage resulted in your injury, it's important that you take legal action as soon as possible. The Law Office of Mark B. Morse, LLC advocates for injured motorists in the greater Providence area. We can fight to hold reckless drivers accountable and take on the insurance companies, so you can focus on your recovery.
To get started, contact our law office online today.