According to the Illinois Department of Transportation, there were 285,477 motor vehicle crashes and 991 fatalities in the state during 2013. Aggressive driving behaviors that lead to road rage have become a major contributor to the rise in collisions. The American Automobile Association studied road rage incidents over the course of seven years and discovered 12,610 injury cases and at least 218 murders occurred during that time frame. Information from the U.S. Department of Transportation shows that road rage rose 170 percent since 2007.
A car accident attorney in Chicago knows that one aggressive driver endangers everyone else on the road, and aggression is often the first step in a road rage confrontation. Prevention may be the best way to avoid a dangerous situation.
- Avoiding aggression
AAA has conducted many surveys to determine which driving behaviors most frequently cause others to reciprocate with aggression or violence behind the wheel. These include the following:
- Cutting others off
- Driving slowly in the left lane
- Making obscene gestures
To avoid these, a motorist should follow traffic laws such as using a turn signal before merging, staying in the right lane except to pass and allowing a two-second space between vehicles. When cut off by another vehicle, a person may be tempted to respond negatively, but the safest action is to slow down and create more space between the automobiles to reduce the risk of vehicular or physical violence.
- Defusing dangerous situations
When an individual recognizes an aggressive driver on the road, refusing to engage emotionally can potentially defuse the situation. Those who take the actions of others personally are more at risk for becoming more aggressive and adding to the threat or becoming a threat, themselves. People should give angry drivers a wide berth. A motorist who believes another driver wants to start a fight should call 911. A car accident attorney in Chicago may know that getting out of a vehicle to face an angry individual is extremely hazardous.
- Creating a positive driving experience
For many on the road, driving is a contest. Viewing the trip as an opportunity to race the clock or other vehicles can create situations where a person feels more pressure to behave aggressively. Allowing plenty of time for the trip makes it easier for the individual to relax and drive safely. Some psychiatrists recommend positive self-talk to counter emotional situations, and listening to soothing music or an audiobook can make the time more pleasant.
Anyone who suffers due to another’s aggressive behaviors or a violent confrontation with an angry driver should seek to hold that person accountable for the damages. A car accident attorney in Chicago may be able to provide legal representation that results in compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost wages.