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Road Rage

What is Road Rage?

Road Rage is defined by the NHTSA as "an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers(s) of another motor vehicle or vehicles precipitated by an incident which occurred on a roadway."  Road Rage is typically precipitated by Aggressive Driving, which is a separate offense defined the NHTSA as "the operation of a motor vehicle in a manner which endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property."  Road rage is the escalation of Aggressive Driving to a violent and dangerous response.

 

Are Incidents of Road Rage Increasing in Nevada?

Nevada consistently reports a low issuance of aggressive driving citations, and Nevada continues to score very high on surveys that assess ‘courteous’ drivers per State.  While gathering reliable and accurate statistics on Aggressive Driving and Road Rage is very difficult, the 2 aforementioned categories cast Nevada in a positive light.  While Nevada is not entirely free of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage related incidents, these incidents are not common place.  


Across our Nation, incidents of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage are continually evident, and statistics do show that 50% of drivers respond to another’s Aggressive Driving and Road Rage by returning the gesture or mimicking the behavior that was cast upon them by this driver.  Suffice to say that ‘two wrongs don’t make a right;’ in fact, two wrongs in this case could prove deadly!  

 

How do You Avoid Confrontation on the Road?

Learning Defensive Driving techniques is typically our first line of defense against both our own and others possible instances of Aggressive Driving.  As Defensive Drivers, we learn to expect the unexpected and are already prepared to react.  We anticipate, even predict, incidents that may arise and have a calculated response in the event that they do.


However, it is not always possible to simply avoid an occurrence and we may find ourselves faced with an Aggressive Driver in an incident that could escalate to Road Rage.  What do you do?  According to the Nevada DMV, you should:

  • Get Out of the Way. First and foremost make every attempt to get out of their way
  • Put Your Pride Aside. Do not challenge them by speeding up or attempting to hold-your own in your travel lane
  • Avoid Eye Contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver
  • Gestures. Ignore gestures and refuse to return them
  • Report Serious Aggressive Driving. You or a passenger may call the police. If you use a cell phone, pull over to a safe location.


Also, recognize these problems as they may surface in your own driving behavior and take the necessary steps to both avoid them and to curtail them should they become evident:

  • Plan ahead and give yourself extra time
  • Concentrate. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cellular phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup
  • Relax. Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves and help you to enjoy your time in the car
  • Drive the Posted Speed Limit. Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are travelling at or about the same speed
  • Identify Alternate Routes. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it is less congested
  • Use Public Transportation. Public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel
  • Just be Late. If all else fails, just be late. A ticket or a crash will cost you much more time

 

Cooler Heads do Prevail!

Do not become a problem driver!  Recognize Aggressive Driving and Road Rage ‘symptoms’ as they may surface in your own driving behavior and take the necessary steps to both avoid them and to curtail them should they become evident.  The Nevada DMV offers excellent advice on this topic:

  • Plan ahead and give yourself extra time
  • Concentrate. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by talking on your cellular phone, eating, drinking or putting on makeup
  • Relax. Tune the radio to your favorite relaxing music. Music can calm your nerves and help you to enjoy your time
  • Drive the Posted Speed Limit. Fewer crashes occur when vehicles are travelling at or about the same speed
  • Identify Alternate Routes. Even if it looks longer on paper, you may find it is less congested
  • Use Public Transportation. Public transportation can give you some much-needed relief from life behind the wheel
  • Just be Late. If all else fails, just be late. A ticket or a crash will cost you much more time

 

How Does Road Rage Begin and End?

Road Rage typically begins by the exhibition of Aggressive Driving.  You will recognize Aggressive Driving behavior as the following:

  • Red light running
  • Speeding
  • Erratic lane changing/weaving
  • Tailgating
  • Physical signs that a driver is yelling, cursing or conveying gestures to others on the road


This behavior, while dangerous in itself, can quickly escalate to Road Rage if the Aggressive Driver is provoked.  This driver may:

  • Try to run you off the road
  • Cut you off
  • Demand that you pull over
  • Use a weapon against you
  • Follow you and approach you if you exit your vehicle


Aggressive Driving and Road Rage will likely not end well.  Both typically result in injury.  If you find yourself or witness someone else being harassed by an Aggressive Driver, notify police as soon as it is safe to do so and never, ever pull over or confront the Aggressive Driver! 

 

Reporting Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

If you feel you are being threatened by an Aggressive Driver and you fear that it has escalated to a potential Road Rage incident, do not pull over or confront the driver!  

  • If it is safe for you to do so, notify police using your cell phone and/or safely drive to either a heavily populated area or, preferably, to the nearest police station 
  • If you witness an incident of Aggressive Driving, notify the police as soon as it is safe to do so
  • If you witness an incident of Road Rage, do not approach the situation.  Pull over a safe distance from the incident and contact police as soon as it is safe to do so


Do not wait for Road Rage to emerge!  Report Aggressive Drivers immediately BEFORE their behavior escalates to Road Rage.

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