Does it seem like drivers have gotten more aggressive as lockdowns from the COVID-19 pandemic were lifted? Recent statistics indicate that road rage incidents, including physical assaults and confrontations involving firearms, have increased over the past few years. Keep reading to learn more about road rage in South Carolina and when to contact a lawyer.
Causes of Road Rage
Drivers experience road rage for various reasons. Road rage behaviors may stem from temporary stressors or a driver’s psychology. Some of the most frequent causes of road rage include:
- Running late or behind schedule
- Heavy traffic
- Stress in one’s personal or professional life
- Willingness to engage in risk-taking behaviors
- Disregard for the law or societal norms
- High anger or explosive temperament
- Hostile or aggressive thinking, including a desire to exact revenge on other drivers
Examples of Road Rage
Road rage can involve a wide range of aggressive or reckless behaviors. Common examples of road rage behaviors include:
- Driving excessively fast
- Darting between lanes to swerve through traffic
- Unnecessary honking
- Cutting off other drivers
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Yelling, swearing, or making rude or threatening gestures at other drivers
- Bumping or ramming another driver’s car
- Unsafe or illegal passing, including crossing over a solid line to pass
- Forcing a vehicle to stop
- Blocking a vehicle
- Getting out of the vehicle to physically confront or assault another driver
Gun Violence and Road Rage Incidents
Road rage involving firearms is a growing problem across the United States. A recent report found that acts of gun violence during road rage incidents have nearly doubled in the past five years. There were 141 road rage shooting deaths in the U.S. in one recent year and 413 road rage shooting injuries that same year.
A recent study from Everytown Research & Policy asked drivers whether they had seen or committed various acts of road rage in the past year. Nearly half of all drivers surveyed admitted to seeing or engaging in various road rage behaviors.
In addition, 14 percent of drivers in states that allow motorists to carry firearms in their vehicles without a permit admitted to carrying a loaded weapon with them in their vehicle “at least occasionally.”
South Carolina Road Rage Statistics
The Everytown study indicated that road rage shootings in South Carolina occurred at a rate of 2.97 per one million residents in one recent year. This is on par with other statistical findings, with South Carolina ranking ninth in the country for gun shooting deaths, according to The Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions.
Multiple road rage shootings have been reported statewide in recent months. The police report that the shooting death of a 53-year-old man recently found dead near a gas pump in Columbia was linked to a road rage incident and wreck. According to news reports, a recent shooting on Interstate 85 in Spartanburg occurred after a driver tried and failed to merge into the fast lane.
How to Avoid a Road Rage Accident in South Carolina
The only thing you can control on the road is your own behavior. Here’s what you can do to lessen the chances of causing a road rage accident:
- Obey the rules of the road.
- Don’t react to others’ aggressive driving by engaging in the same behaviors.
- Own your mistakes. If you cut someone off, apologize for it verbally or with a friendly wave.
- Control your temper. Even if the other driver tries to confront you verbally, don’t escalate the situation by fighting back.
- Call 911 if you are afraid of being harmed.
How to Handle Other Drivers’ Road Rage
The best way to deal with another motorist’s aggressiveness is by driving defensively. This means:
- Keep your distance. If possible, let the driver pass you. With luck, he or she will zoom on by. But if the aggressive driver tries any other maneuvers from in front, like braking suddenly for no reason, keeping your distance will give you more time to respond and avoid a collision.
- Don’t meet with the driver. Never pull off the road to talk to the other driver. You have no idea of his or her intentions.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in South Carolina
If you’ve suffered injuries in a car accident caused by another driver’s road rage in South Carolina, you deserve to hold that driver accountable for your harm. Contact Stewart Law Offices today for a free, no-obligation consultation with a SC attorney. Our road rage South Carolina lawyers can evaluate your legal options for pursuing compensation and justice.