It is not a big secret that Atlanta has some of the worst traffic in the United States. Highways such as I-75, I-85, I-20, and I-285 are all very frustrating especially during rush hour.
Rush Hour Traffic is Prime Time
Most road rage incidents occur during rush-hour traffic. Which is between 4 and 7 P.M., and most of the time, the event involves a man. Atlanta has always had its fair share of road rage accidents but in 2021 road rage shootings are on the rise. As of summer 2021, there had been at least 45 shootings on the road resulting in 15 fatalities and injuring others. Unfortunately, these incidents can involve more than the two vehicles involved, and frequently third-party vehicles are the victims of the aggressive driving in a road rage incident.
What is Road Rage?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines road rage as an action “endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property.” There are many other behaviors associated with road rage other than simply driving aggressively. Some of these violent and hazardous behaviors include the following:
- Threatening other drivers either through screaming or through threatening actions while driving
- Exhibiting offensive or aggressive/violent hand gestures to other drivers
- Continuously honking the horn in an aggressive manner
- Cutting off other drivers while driving, or intentionally blocking off drivers from moving forward in traffic
- Intentionally breaking or accelerating suddenly
- Brandishing a weapon of some sort to other drivers as a threat
- Aggressively driving a vehicle in such a way that another vehicle must run off the road
- Exiting the vehicle in an attempt to begin an actual physical confrontation with another driver or passenger
- Driving at high speeds or weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds
As anyone can easily imagine, these types of behaviors often cause catastrophic accidents with serious injuries or fatalities. If you suffered any kind of injuries, the attorneys at Essa, Janho & Associates, LLC can help you understand your rights. Call 770-955-8322 English or 770-771-3658 En Espanol.
Approximately 40% of road rage incidents result in some kind of criminal charge against at least one of the drivers. It is often that an innocent victim pays the price of the road rage of another.
Georgia Laws on Aggressive Driving
Georgia law defines aggressive driving (commonly known as road rage) as having the intent to annoy, harass, molest, intimidate, injure or obstruct another person while doing one or more of the following:
- Overtaking and passing another vehicle
- Violating traffic lane markings
- Following too closely
- Violating signal, lane change, slowing or stopping laws
- Impeding traffic flows
- Reckless driving
Aggressive driving in Georgia is a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature. This means a person convicted of aggressive driving can be punished with a fine up to $5,000 and up to 12 months in jail.
Is Road Rage Assault?
In certain scenarios, road rage can be assault and battery. A car accident caused by road rage is intentional rather than accidental. If the other individual threatens to hit your or your vehicle, then they could be found guilty of assault. If that individual purposely touches you or deliberately strikes your vehicle, then they could be found guilty of battery. Some examples of battery with a road rage incident include:
- If someone struck your vehicle with their own vehicle on purpose.
- The other driver got out of the vehicle then started to attack your or your vehicle physically.
- If another drive pushed you off the road, and then got out of the vehicle to strike you.
Proving Liability in Car Accidents Caused by Road Rage
If you suffered any injuries or losses as a result of a car accident of any kind, you will have to prove liability and determine responsibility in order to receive compensation from an insurance company for those injuries and losses. In order to prove liability in any car accident, including those involving road rage, a victim must prove the following:
- The driver has a duty to operate a motor vehicle safely on the roadways and drive in a responsible and safe manner. This is typically an easy element to prove as all drivers should always operate their motor vehicles in a safe manner.
- The driver of the motor vehicle breached their duty to operate a motor vehicle safely on the roadways by driving in an aggressive manner indicative of road rage.
- A victim of a car accident caused by road rage will have the responsibility to prove that the actions of the aggressive driver directly caused the accident that led to their injuries and losses.
- A victim must prove that actual damages resulted from the other driver’s negligent and reckless behavior. Damages can include physical or emotional damages, as well as property damage.
Punitive Damages Could Apply
In addition to the compensatory damages, you can normally recover under an injury claim, you may also be able to get punitive damages. Road rage is intentional and often malicious, thus the courts could issue a damage award to punish the defendant for these actions.
If you see aggressive driving by another, contact your local Police Department and report the matter.
Tips for Dealing with Aggressive Driver:
- Stay calm. Keep your emotions in check.
- Plan ahead and anticipate delays.
- Focus on your own driving. Be cautious and considerate.
- Avoid creating a situation that may cause provocation.
- Give angry drivers plenty of room.
- Avoid eye contact.
- Use the left lane only when passing.
- Use your horn sparingly.
- Don’t tailgate or flash your lights behind someone.
- Don’t yell obscenities or make inappropriate hand gestures, and don’t respond to drivers who do.
- If you’re concerned for your safety, call 911.
Contact Essa, Janho & Associates, LLC. at 770-955-8322 English or 770-771-3658 En Espanol if you were in an accident involving road rage. We will work relentlessly to get you the compensation you deserve!