We know that Floridians aren’t always the best drivers. And sometimes, seeing the car in front of us forgetting to use their turn signal or driving super slowly in the left lane can get us angry. Really angry.
Have you ever:
- Honked your horn loudly at a car that was upsetting you?
- Yelled at another driver?
- Tailgated a car that was driving slowly?
- Flipped off or made an angry gesture at another driver as you passed by?
- Cut off a vehicle on purpose?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be suffering from road rage. You are also far from alone.
The High Rate of Road Rage
A study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that over 80% of American drivers admitted to expressing road rage at least once while driving last year. While most of these drivers didn’t go far beyond yelling or giving a rude gesture to the driver that angered them, as many as 8 million drivers purposefully hit another vehicle or got out of their car to confront a driver that was upsetting them.
Males, younger drivers, and drivers in the Northeast are all more likely to express road rage. But this is not to say that Florida drivers do not have to worry about road rage and aggressive drivers. Not at all. Road rage kills no matter where you go or who else is on the road.
If Road Rage Causes an Auto Accident
Nine out of ten people who responded to the survey said that aggressive drivers pose a serious threat to their safety and the safety of other drivers out on the road. If 8 million people are hitting other cars or starting physical confrontations with other drivers, accidents and injuries are bound to happen. But causing an accident due to road rage doesn’t just hurt another driver – it can end in heavy fines and a lawsuit against the offending driver as well.
We have discussed Florida’s policies regarding personal injury protection (PIP) in previous posts. For most minor car accidents, insurance will cover the damages of either party, regardless of fault. However, when injuries and damages exceed $10,000, rules of comparative fault kick in. And if your road rage caused the accident, comparative fault may get you in big trouble.
If you are found to be at fault for an accident because you were overtaken by road rage, your costs will not just end at a lawsuit. Insurance companies will take note of your aggressive behavior, and your premium may increase dramatically.
Avoiding Road Rage Accidents
If you are on the road with an aggressive driver or a driver who is expressing road rage, do the best you can to stay out of his or her way. Let them switch lanes and get where they need to go, and do not let the driver’s actions offend you. If someone is trying to start a confrontation, avoid eye contact.
If you know that you habitually express road rage or display aggressive driving behaviors, know the risks you pose for hurting yourself and other drivers. Avoid situations where you express a lot of road rage – take a different route to work or leave a little earlier to avoid morning traffic. Find a calming radio station or playlist that will allow you to pump up the jams instead of hitting the gas. You may even want to seek counseling or outside resources to help you overcome these habits.
If you have been injured in a car accident and road rage is involved, call a Florida personal injury lawyer today.
About The Author:
A partner at Lawlor, White & Murphey and a distinguished personal injury lawyer, Ben Murphey tries complex disputes that include civil appeals, maritime and admiralty claims, wrongful death, and labor disputes. Mr. Murphey has been recognized for his excellence in the area of personal injury litigation by being rewarded with a 10/10 AVVO Rating and named a Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for 2010-2013 and Super Lawyers for 2014-2016. Mr. Murphey regularly tries cases in state and federal courts around the country, being admitted to practice before all Florida courts and the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.