Road rage is entirely preventable. Yet, it remains a serious threat to motorists on roads in South Carolina and throughout the United States. Unsettling reports of recent road rage incidents suggest that these attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent. Follow these tips from Stewart Law Offices about how to minimize road rage.
Causes of Road Rage
Traffic incidents sometimes trigger the classic fight-or-flight response, which is a normal, physical reaction to stressful events. When the human brain perceives fear or a threat to survival, it activates people to flee or attack. If another driver does something that jeopardizes our safety, this response can kick in and potentially lead to road rage. Once a person’s stress levels are spiked, even minor driving infractions can turn into a road rage incident.
Most people realize that road rage is an extreme and irrational response. However, some people have temperaments that are more likely to erupt in anger while in traffic. Other common causes of road rage incidents include:
- Traffic congestion for a prolonged period
- Traffic conditions that result in significant delays
- High stress levels
- Substance abuse
- Mental health disorders
Examples of Road Rage
Road rage can take many forms, such as:
- Intentional tailgating
- Honking angrily
- Making obscene gestures
- Yelling at other motorists
- Blocking another vehicle from changing lanes
- Cutting off other drivers
- Throwing objects at other motorists
- Sideswiping another vehicle
- Forcing another driver off the road
- Getting out of a car to confront the other driver
- Inflicting violence on another driver
South Carolina Road Rage Statistics
Disturbingly, a 10-year analysis of crash data from The Auto Insurance Center found that South Carolina had the second-highest rate of fatal accidents that could be attributed to road rage in the nation. What is worse, this data is from before the pandemic.
Analysts strongly believe that road rage incidents have increased during the pandemic because many people are dealing with mental health issues, substance abuse, and economic hardship. In the first year of the pandemic, more than 500 people were shot in more than 700 separate road rage incidents. The monthly average of people wounded or killed by gunfire on the roads was twice what it was the year before the pandemic began.
Tips for Managing Stress While Driving
Driving can be a stressful activity, especially when other drivers are rude or inconsiderate. However, there are ways that you can control your emotions while behind the wheel, including:
- Give yourself extra travel time so you won’t feel rushed or stressed during the commute
- Don’t drive while you are upset, irritable, or hung over
- Make the drive comfortable by setting the temperature where you like and listening to soothing music
- Don’t mimic bad drivers’ behaviors
- Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt
How to Respond If You’ve Been Targeted
If you notice another driver behaving aggressively towards you, follow these steps to protect you and your passengers:
- Do not engage with the other driver
- Do not make eye contact
- Do not make gestures
- Give the driver space
- Do not pull off the road
- Call 911
If You’ve Been Injured, Stewart Law Offices Can Help
If an aggressive driver injured you, the experienced South Carolina car accident lawyers at Stewart Law Offices are here to help. Our car accident attorneys can help you fight for compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.
Call us at (803) 408-7352 or contact us today for a free consultation.