Rocky Riffs on the Road
WA Road Rage Accident Attorney

A harrowing scene on Interstate 5 stunned the local community last week as they learned that long traffic delays were caused by a road rage incident between a motorcyclist and driver. The 60 year-old male driver and his 57-year-old wife had been following a female motorcyclist in the HOV lane near Milton, when the incident occurred.

Witnesses told authorities that the motorcycle rider and the motorist both stopped along the highway to have it out in what appears to be a classic road rage scenario. The investigation is still ongoing, but what is known is that an altercation happened between the young woman and man, where they ended up on the ground fighting. Authorities say that she pulled a gun and fired one shot, fatally wounding the man, while the man’s wife sat in their SUV. The motorcyclist then called 911 to report the incident and waited for help to arrive.

Advice from the Highway Patrol

We’ll all had those tense moments on the road with other drivers and tempers flare. It’s easy to get angry when someone cuts us off or we feel pinned in by slower drivers. It can be frustrating…but is it really worth losing your life over it?

How do you prevent becoming involved in a road-rage situation?

What’s the best recommendation? Let it go. As we know, that’s sometimes easier said than done. Washington State Patrol Trooper Sheneka Phillips said, “First off, if you encounter someone with road rage, never ever pull over to have a discussion. Create some distance. You don’t know what the other person is capable of.”

After you’ve created distance, find a safe place to pull over and call 911. But if you’re in the middle of traffic, and you believe your safety is threatened by another driver, make that 911 call right away. The distracted driving law exempts those who are calling emergency services from a traffic violation.

Being a courteous driver goes a long way down the road. Ignoring provocation and not giving into the temptation to lash back at disrespectful drivers is the best way to avoid road rage and passive-aggressive driving situations.

WA Road Rage Accident Attorney

What is Road Rage?

Road rage is often described as aggressive or violent behavior resulting from a driver’s uncontrolled anger at other drivers or motorists on the road. Some examples of a driver lashing out while driving may include:

  • Hitting your vehicle with their car
  • Running vehicles off the road
  • Pulling over, getting out, and engaging in a physical confrontation
  • Inciting passenger(s) to fight the other driver
  • Using any sort of weapon to inflict harm on another driver or vehicle

Most aggressive drivers don’t immediately get to the point of road rage, but we all have seen figurative sparks fly between some drivers due to some of their passive-aggressive driving behaviors, like:

  • Tailgating
  • Cutting others off
  • Not using turn signals
  • Mentally or verbally cursing other drivers
  • Speeding
  • Honking
  • Flashing headlights at other vehicles
  • Brake checking drivers behind you

Ironically, many of the causes and excuses for road rage actually have nothing to do with other drivers or even the conditions of the road. Some situations that can potentially cause a road rage situation can include:

  • Getting fired or into an argument at work
  • Arguing with your significant other
  • Rushing because you’re running late to an appointment
  • Scolding your kids in the car

Diffusing Road Rage

If you’ve upset another driver or notice that things are tense around other vehicles, it’s important to defuse the situation as soon as possible. The best way to do this is by showing remorse. Yes. The Department of Motor Vehicles suggests remorse, added to remaining calm and not caving into aggressive tactics; all of which can deescalate a dodgy situation quickly. How? You can do so by:

  • Waving to the other driver
  • Mouthing that you’re sorry (You don’t necessarily have to mean it, but will they know that? Probably not.)
  • Allowing plenty of room for them to pass you

Be the bigger person. This helps to keep everyone, including yourself, safe. Of course, you should always call the police if you believe you’re in imminent danger.

When another upsets you, don’t make the situation more difficult than it has to be. Before taking matters into your own hands, you should:

  • Pull over to a safe location or out of the way of traffic. Never stop with a road rager!
  • Take some deep breaths—maybe even count backwards. Try a foreign language if that’s not working. Concentrate on something other than the driving bully.
  • Remember you have full control over your own actions and thoughts. Just remember–somebody had a worse day than you!
  • Think about the consequences of your actions, especially if you start contemplating how to get revenge on the other driver. (Retaliation is NEVER worth it!)
  • Put on some soothing music. Seriously. Some deep breaths and a happy song can make any driving monster manageable.

By remaining calm and not taking other drivers’ actions personally, you can avoid legal repercussions and accidents. Some stranger on the warpath is not worth your life, limb, or happiness!

What You Can Immediately Do When Confronted With an Aggressive Driver

DO NOT ENGAGE in any kind of interaction with the hostile driver! Like what happened on Interstate 5, things do not end well for aggressive drivers that take matters into their own hands.  Giving into inciting behavior is not only dangerous, but could turn deadly. Leave plenty of space between you, move to the right lane, or even opt for a different traffic pattern then planned.  Nobody should ever be a hostage on the road. If able, call 911 or have a passenger do it for you.

Personal Injury Attorneys Here to Help

If you or a loved one have been hurt or injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by an aggressive driver, call Fielding Law Group today for a free appointment and review of your case.  Consulting with a personal injury attorney is one of the best ways to determine your legal rights after an accident. Our experienced auto accident attorneys and legal team at Fielding Law Group will fight and get the compensation you are entitled to for injuries caused by an at-fault driver. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!