Let’s get down to the facts. Road rage happens. If you drive, it’s not something we can go a lifetime avoiding. Studies show that nearly 80% of drivers will experience road rage. We all eventually have an encounter with someone having a bad day or someone who feels we’ve wronged them and now they wish to express their anger towards you.
In Colorado - committing road rage can lead to very serious charges and even felonies. Some of the charges that could result from road rage include:
- Reckless Driving
- Careless Driving
- Felon Menacing
- Felony of Vehicular Homicide and Assault
To help avoid being caught up in the road rage we often see by others, below are a few tips on how you can handle aggressive drivers or control your stress levels the next time you encounter a road rage driver.
Tip 1: Keep a Cool Head
The best thing you can do against someone with road rage is to show kindness towards them. Remember someone deciding to drive aggressively is a decision to risk their life, your life, and the lives of other drivers around you to express anger. The best thing you can do is avoid conflict with them and move out of their way. If you feel you may have been the cause of their rage; simply signal a wave of apology, avoid eye contact, and let them pass.
Tip 2: Do Not Join the Rage Fest
Do the best you can to deflate the situation by not feeding their rage with more rage. If you find yourself the target of a road rage driver, remain polite and avoid conflict. If the driver challenges you or tries to get a reaction out of you, take a deep breath and continue to move out of their way, and above all avoid giving in. It is best to think about the negative thoughts you want to do or say to them to get payback, but first consider the pros and cons of these actions and what good it would do. Above all, remember if you give in you are doing exactly what they want and you’ll only make the danger you’re in and the people around you worse.
Tip 3: Follow Driving Laws & Be Respectful
Remembering to follow driving laws and having respect for those driving around you is a solid strategy to avoid starting or enhancing a rage-driving incident. Below are some of the common laws and aggressive driving maneuvers that people will do to cause other drivers be enraged:
Cutting people off
“Break checking” vehicles
Swerving or driving over solid lines
Honking or flashing high beams
Not using blinkers or turn signals
Driving under the speed limit
Weaving in and out of traffic
Throwing items at people or vehicles
Threatening with, showing, or using a weapon (gun, knife, bats, etc.)
Driving distracted or distracting other drivers
Not moving over for vehicles trying to merge or on the side of the road
Hogging the “passing lane” or the left lane on interstates. In Colorado, it is the state law that any left lane that is 65mph or above is only allowed to be used for passing. Once you’ve completed passing, signal your vehicle back into the right lane.
Displaying obscene gestures (i.e. flipping off) - while this is not illegal and is protected by your first amendment right in the state of Colorado. We still recommend avoiding the urge to do this to other people as it may make you the target of a road rage incident.
Tip 4: Report Poor or Dangerous Drivers
Report someone who is driving with rage, driving badly, drunk driving or someone you feel is endangering your life or the lives of other drives. If you’re the only person in the vehicle and need to make a report, only report them if you have a hands-free device or pull over to make a call. Be sure to have a description of the vehicle, the person driving, the involved license plates, and the direction they’re heading. Do not follow or engage with the person you are reporting unless instructed to do so by law enforcement.
Tip 5: Get Legal Help When Needed
If you’re confronted with a road rage incident that caused you to be involved in an accident or personal injury. Doehling Law Accident & Injury Law Firm, P.C. can provide legal advice and representation in your case.