A tragic case of road rage has claimed the life of a Philadelphia-area teen. The recent high school graduate was on her way home from a shopping trip when she was fatally shot by another driver. The incident happened after the two drivers simultaneously tried to merge into one lane on Route 100 in West Chester. After fatally wounding the 18-year-old, the shooter drove off. A massive manhunt and thousands of tips finally led to the man’s arrest four days later.
This is the most recent example of road rage – defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as a moving traffic offense that is intended to endanger other persons or property; or an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the occupant or occupants of another motor vehicle. Acts of road rage qualify for criminal charges. This a step beyond aggressive driving, which is classified as a traffic offense.
According to research, males under the age of 19 are most susceptible to road rage. Over a seven-year period, road rage incidents were responsible for 218 murders and 12,610 injuries. Experts also note that aggressive driving is behind 56 percent of all traffic fatalities. They offer the following tips to help keep aggressive driving from escalating into road rage.
Avoid Aggravating Behaviors
Drive carefully and avoid these behaviors that can enrage other drivers:
Cutting people off – Make sure to leave plenty of room when you merge or pass someone. Indicate your intentions with your turn signal before you move. You can also make room for other drivers trying to merge into your lane. If you do cut someone off by mistake try to apologize with an appropriate gesture.
Gesturing – Obscene gestures should always be avoided as they are highly offensive and can push someone susceptible to road rage over the edge. Even seemingly harmless gestures such as shaking your head can anger aggressive drivers.
Hanging out in the left lane – Even if you are driving the speed limit, most states, including New Jersey, reserve the left lane for passing and faster drivers. Driving slowly in the left lane or hogging it aggravates the drivers behind you.
Tailgating – Driving too closely can put you at risk for a rear-end accident, but it can make people angry too. There should be at least a two second space between your car and the car ahead of you. This allows space for emergency maneuvers if needed. If you are being tailgated, signal and pull over so that the other driver can pass you.
Texting while driving – Surveys reveal this to be the number one source of aggravation for other drivers. Never drive while distracted as it puts you and everyone else on the road at risk for an accident.
If you encounter an angry driver remain calm and do not engage in a fight. Do not make eye contact. Try put as much distance between your car and the other vehicle as possible. If you need to get help, call 911 or drive to the nearest place with other people around, a shopping center or gas station. Never drive to your house and do not get out of your car to talk to an aggressive driver.
Cherry Hill Car Accident Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Victims of Road Rage AccidentsIf you have suffered injuries in a car accident that was caused by aggressive driving or road rage, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 856-414-0010 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Cherry Hill car accident lawyer at DiTomaso Law. We will fight to obtain the maximum compensation available for your case. Our office is conveniently located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey serving clients throughout South Jersey and the greater Philadelphia area.