Summer Traffic-Politeness Goes a Long Way On and Off the Roadway
Posted on June 19th, 2018 by Zane Cagle
Road Rage Can Spiral Quickly From a Little Incident
Driving to work this morning, I literally saw two men engaged in a road rage incident for five blocks down Washington Avenue in downtown, St. Louis, MO. Apparently one driver didn’t believe the guy in front of him moved quickly enough for the green light. Really? Is this the best way to start the day? I followed at a safe distance since both vehicles were careening through traffic, lunging at one another and one man actually got out of his vehicle at one point. I hope that this near collision experience where both men were screaming at each other resulted in the time-efficiency resolution of the original apparent complaint.
Somehow, I don’t think it was time-efficient for either of them.
Road rage is increasing in our area, at best it can be called “reckless driving“. But, when you are involved in an incident that involves aggressive driving behaviors likened to “road rage”, things can get dicey–in real time (injuries and death) and legally speaking- insurance companies.
Slow Down, Take a Deep Breath and Be Patient
Hey, we all have somewhere to be. It’s hot and we are increasingly irritable. Additionally, if you’ve paid attention, you know violent crimes tend to escalate during the hot temperatures in St. Louis. Do not assume that everyone you meet on the roadway is calm and in their happy place. One commute through rush hour and you know that no one is in their “happy place”. It’s easy to flip someone off when you are in separate vehicles. It might be a good idea to think of how you might behave if you and that person were in an elevator together. Can you imagine flipping off someone in the elevator or screaming obscenities to them as we do in our cars? (great comic made this obvious comparison for me).
I don’t generally write articles about road rage because usually it is a fraction of the motor vehicle crash behaviors. When we think of “road rage”, we think of people on the I-405 in LA who crawl at a snail’s pace for hours; but it happens far more frequently than it should everywhere.
In a study done by SafeMotorist.com, they found that 66% of recent traffic fatalities can be linked to aggressive driving. More disturbing is that 37% of those fatalities were found to be caused by a firearm, rather than the regular accident. Road rage and fire arms, what could possibly go wrong?
After Saturday’s deadly shooting on I-64/40, questions still remain as to why a man was shot in traffic or if it was something related to a prior event.
SafeMotorist.com found that victims often turn into the aggressor. According to AAA, the driving behaviors that trigger anger are pretty common: getting cut off, someone driving slow in the left lane and a major issue tailgaiting.
Be a Considerate Driver
Pay attention, use your blinker and flow with traffic. Remember, we are “sharing” the roadway and that includes motorcycles and bicycles. When you are in a near miss situation, you fear for your safety and your next emotion is anger. Hey, we’ve all been there.
You never know what the other driver is going through in a driving situation. Thus, before you start flipping people off and screaming colorful obscenities, remember that other driver may already be at their breaking point as they may be dealing with the challenges of life we all cope with such as death, work stress, family issues, and anger issues. That doesn’t mean of course, that you are not cursing them in your “indoor voice” inside your car or under your breath. Really, will your “cussing” someone really make them a better driver and have you ever been offered an apology after you “cussed” someone out?
Either they give the surrender motion and say “my bad” or they become equally obnoxious. By then, you are both distracted which could lead to a crash.
When You’re Involved in a Traffic Incident Resulting from Road Rage
I doubt the gentleman (I use that term loosely) would either have been happy if they had collided after this morning’s exchange. And who knows how far it would have gone if they had actually crashed. It did not look good from my vantage spot. What was actually accomplished in their exchange? I’m pretty sure they are both going to be seething the rest of the day which will make a delightful commute for others this afternoon.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle crash due to a road rage issue, it may get a little tricky legally speaking. When someone hits another car and road rage is involved, an insurance company may deny liability altogether and call it a “purposeful act”. I realize on television, they glamourize it by saying “I’m insured” after they totally crush another car, but in real life it does not work that way. Insurance companies will deny a claim happily if either party were involved in any purposeful cause of crash. Plus, there are natural consequences such as a possible injury or death.
Be a Considerate Driver, Slow Down and Be Patient
We’re all trying to get somewhere safely. Allow plenty of travel time and remember to pay attention to reduce the amount of “dumb driving” errors you make when you are not paying attention. People tend to leave you alone when you drive safely. It’s amazing how far politeness and being engaged results in positive moments on and off the roadway.
Injured in Motor Vehicle Crash?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle crash regardless of road rage, you will need legal representation. We handle serious injury motor vehicle crashes and we are very familiar with the runaround that you will get from an insurance company after you are hurt. Don’t talk to the adjuster about your injuries, just call us!