Targeted by road rage? Quick thinking may make the difference

If you are like many drivers in Louisiana and elsewhere, you might have been on the receiving end of another driver’s frustration once or twice. Whether you accidentally cut someone off or were driving too slowly in the fast lane, someone might have signaled their irritation with a honked horn, middle finger or cutting you off in response. However, what if the other driver took his or her frustration to a more dangerous level?

When a driver becomes angry enough to try to harm another person, it is road rage. As you might expect, it is dangerous and terrifying to be the target of someone’s rage. It is also becoming increasingly common in today’s busy and stressful world. According to the American Safety Council, in a seven-year period, there were 12,610 injuries and 218 murders resulting from road rage. The following statistics also pertain to road rage and aggressive driving:

  • 37 percent of incidents involving aggressive drivers include a firearm
  • About half of those targeted by an angry driver respond aggressively themselves
  • Authorities believe 66 percent of traffic fatalities include driver aggression

Is there anything you can do to defuse the situation if you find yourself the target of road rage? First, do not make eye contact or react angrily in response. You might feel tempted to drive home to safety, but you should never alert a potentially violent person to where you live. A police station, fire station or well-lit parking lot with other people around are good places to drive. If the other driver runs you off the road or corners you, lock your doors and do not leave your vehicle in an attempt to reason with him or her. If you have your cellphone with you, call 911 as soon as you are sure the other driver is not going to leave you alone.

The way you react might help you get home safely after a road rage incident, but you cannot control the actions of others. You may deserve compensation if another person’s negligent or aggressive actions result in your injury.

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