We've all experienced frustration on the road. Whether it's an oblivious driver who suddenly pulls in front of you, or an aggressive driver following too closely or honking at you for daring to follow the speed limit, it happens to the best of us. According to the AAA Foundation, road rage is common, with more than 80% of drivers saying they've expressed “significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the last year.” Rhode Island police say they issued more than 260 tickets under Rhode Island's aggressive driving statute between 2017 and February of 2020. But what happens when that blind rage causes an accident? Is “road rage” a defense?
What Causes Road Rage?
According to auto insurer Geico, many common road conditions can cause road rage, including:
- Traffic delays,
- Running late,
- Disregard for others and the law, and
- Habit or learned behavior.
Common Forms of Road Rage
Road rage can manifest in several ways, including:
- Tailgating or following too closely,
- Yelling in anger or honking,
- Making angry gestures,
- Cutting off another car on purpose or blocking it from changing lanes,
- Getting out of the car to confront another driver,
- Bumping or ramming another car on purpose.
Many of these unsafe behaviors could lead to an accident. Under Rhode Island's aggressive driving statute, these behaviors can land a driver a ticket with fines ranging from $260 to $500.
Is Road Rage a Defense?
For the person engaging in road rage, it is not a defense to causing an accident, even if the individual was in a blind rage. However, if you are in an accident or hit another car because of an aggressive driver's actions, it may be a defense for you. Be sure to call the police, stay in your car, and do not engage the driver with “road rage.” Be sure to immediately write down the other driver's license plate number, a description of the car, and a detailed description of what happened right away.
If you've been in a car accident with an aggressive driver, we can help. Contact Inman & Tourgee online or call (401) 823-9200 to set up a consultation to explore your options.