Road rage refers to extreme aggression behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. While it is normal for drivers to sometimes become frustrated or angry, road rage brings driver frustration to the level of violence or recklessness. A driver putting him or herself and others in danger due to serious aggression is road rage. If a road rage driver causes personal injuries, property damages or deaths, victims can seek help from a car crash and injury attorney.
Is it Against the Law?
The state of Texas does not have any legislation specifically listing road rage as a crime. However, several actions an enraged driver may take could qualify as crimes. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, is a specific moving violation in Texas. Putting other people at risk by intentionally or recklessly breaking traffic laws is the definition of aggressive driving in Texas. Road rage could lead to several different criminal charges depending on the situation.
- Reckless driving. If a driver’s road rage causes him or her drive recklessly, the driver could be guilty of a crime under Texas Transportation Code section 545.401. This is a misdemeanor crime.
- Assault and battery. An extremely angry driver may exit his or her vehicle to physically assault a victim. A road rage driver could be guilty of assault, battery or harassment. These could be misdemeanor or felony offenses.
- Vehicular homicide or manslaughter. A road rage driver could be guilty of these serious crimes if he or she uses a vehicle as a weapon to take the life of another person. These are felony crimes that will lead to mandatory jail time.
A driver’s road rage itself may not be against the law in Texas, but many actions an enraged driver is likely to take could break state laws. Criminally negligent homicide, intoxication manslaughter, vehicular manslaughter, aggressive driving, reckless driving, speeding, running red lights, harassment, tailgating or unsafe passing could all lead to criminal convictions or moving violations for the road rage driver.
Can Road Rage Be Harmful?
Road rage can be extremely harmful to everyone on the roadway. A driver experiencing a bout of anger may not be able to safely or prudently control his or her motor vehicle. This can lead to accidental or intentional collisions. A driver experiencing road rage could break roadway rules, speed, run red lights, ignore rights-of-way, weave between vehicles and tailgate – all dangerous behaviors that could cause car accidents. He or she could also become violent, leading to potential personal injuries from assault or battery.
Aggressive driving is a leading cause of auto accidents, according to studies. Aggressive driving can cloud a driver’s judgment or lead to intentional crimes, such as ramming one’s vehicle into another car or a pedestrian. It could also become a significant cognitive distraction, causing unintentional mistakes such as failing to notice a light changing. Road rage could be harmful to the driver and to everyone else on the road.
Is Road Rage Deadly?
Road rage has proven fatal for many victims in the past. Deadly incidents of road rage could involve catastrophic vehicle collisions or physical assaults with weapons from the angry driver. In many cases, road rage goes hand in hand with personality disorders and/or substance abuse. These combinations can lead to reckless driver behaviors that ultimately lead to fatal incidents.
You can help prevent road rage incidents by being a careful and courteous driver. Do not cut other drivers off, use hand gestures, yell at other drivers, tailgate, honk or otherwise instigate an altercation. Avoid doing things that could incite a driver’s road rage, such as driving too slowly in the fast lane. If an angry driver tries to engage with you, ignore him or her and do not make eye contact. Get out of the driver’s way and report him or her to the police if the driver appears to be a threat. Drive directly to a police station if an enraged driver appears to be following you.