By Pendergast Law on November 17, 2016
With the growing congestion on Seattle roadways and the increased length in average commutes, it’s only natural that a driver might feel frustrated or even angry. But when that exasperation turns to open hostility towards fellow drivers or erratic driving, a phenomenon known colloquially as road rage, what was an understandable reaction to unfortunate circumstances might turn into reckless or even illegal behavior.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) draws a distinction between aggressive driving and, at the most threatening end of the spectrum, road rage. NHTSA defines aggressive driving as, “The operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property,” with examples such as; following too closely, driving at excessive speeds, weaving through traffic, and running stop lights and signs. In its most extreme form, aggressive driving turns into road rage, which NHTSA identifies as “gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist, confrontation, physical assault, and even murder.” The former is classified as a traffic violation, while the latter often rises to the level of a criminal offense.
Road rage is a serious problem that adversely affects the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of its victims. Yet because of the increased ubiquity or road rage, many people will chose to ignore it when it happens to them rather than take action. But there are strict laws that protect us from road rage and aggressive driving behavior.
Examples of road rage include:
- Cutting other vehicles off in a lane, or deliberately preventing someone from merging
- Chasing other motorists
- Flashing lights and/or sounding the horn excessively
- Yelling or exhibiting disruptive behavior towards fellow motorists
- Rude gestures
- Shouting verbal abuses or threats
- Intentionally causing a collision between vehicles
- Assaulting other motorists, their passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians
- Exiting the car in an attempt to provoke confrontations
- Threatening to use or using a firearm or other deadly weapon
- Throwing projectiles towards a moving vehicle
You should treat an incidence of road rage just like you would any other motor vehicle accident and promptly notify the authorities. You should also document any damage by taking photos. If you notice a driver behaving aggressively towards you or other drivers, it also might be a good idea to have a passenger in your car document the behavior on their phone. Road rage incidents can be very complex and difficult to prove, so any supporting documentation will be very helpful towards ensuring you get a positive outcome.
If you have been the victim of road rage, the experienced Seattle road rage accident lawyers at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. wants you to know that we can help. Our team of Washington road rage lawyers has represented many people just like you and we will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the best possible outcome. Call 888-539-9211 to schedule a free consultation today.