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Road rage poses significant risks for NC motorists

Road rage is a significant problem that endangers thousands of people across the country. It is easy for an angry driver to lose control and injure another.

It is a well-known fact that many people in North Carolina, as well as across the country, deal with stress on a regular basis. Being routinely stressed out may result in short tempers, which can be deadly on the road.

Most people have heard the term “road rage,” and many already have been involved with another driver who acted in an aggressive or hostile manner. Recent studies from AAA have uncovered a disturbing fact: most drivers have, at some point, acted in a dangerously aggressive manner toward others. According to NBC News, almost 80 percent of drivers polled admitted they had expressed “significant anger” on the road during the past year. This behavior may include speeding around other vehicles, tailgating, honking the horn, yelling and using obscene gestures.

Difference between aggression and road rage

Road rage has become such a problem that it is believed to be a factor in 66 percent of fatal motor vehicle crashes, states the American Safety Council. Over a period of seven years, 218 people were murdered and 12,610 were injured in road rage incidents. There is a difference between aggressive driving and full-blown road rage, however. Aggressive driving behaviors may be dangerous, but are considered to be traffic offenses. On the other hand, people who engage in road rage have a deliberate intent to harm others out of anger or impatience. Law enforcement considers road rage to be a criminal offense.

A road rage incident caught on a parking lot surveillance camera revealed the sudden nature of such attacks. According to WNCT News, last June in Newport, a woman had pulled into the parking lot followed by another vehicle. A woman left the second vehicle as the first was getting out, and physically assaulted her.

Physical attacks are one aspect of road rage incidents that may injure others. An angry driver may use a weapon, such as a knife, firearm or heavy tool, against another. Some people are injured or killed in collisions that are the result of an enraged driver using his or her vehicle as a weapon.

Authorities advise people who are being pursued by “road ragers” to try to get away from the pursuer safely and calmly, in a way that does not endanger others on the road. They should not drive home, but should go to a well-lit parking lot or a police station. Using a smartphone to call 911 may also increase their chances of getting through the encounter unscathed. Once in a parking lot or if cornered, those pursued should lock their doors and wait for authorities to arrive. It may also help to blare the horn and get attention from witnesses, which may discourage an attacker.

Road rage attacks can be terrifying for North Carolina residents, not to mention dangerous. If you have been harmed by road rage or an aggressive driver, it may help to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine if compensation is possible.