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What constitutes road rage?

On Behalf of | Aug 30, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Driving in congested New York traffic can be stressful, especially if you are running late or are eager to reach your destination. Still, we must keep our cool while driving. Some drivers will let their frustration get the best of them and will commit an act of road rage that could lead to a serious car crash.

Aggressive driving vs. road rage

There is a difference between road rage and mere aggressive driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that aggressive driving occurs when a motorist purposely commits a traffic infraction that endangers someone else. Some examples of aggressive driving include:

  • Tailgating
  • Driving above the posted speed limit in congested traffic
  • Disobeying stop signs and red lights, and
  • Weaving in-between lanes or cutting other drivers off in heavy traffic

Road rage is more violent than aggressive driving. Road rage occurs when a motorist purposely makes an extreme traffic infraction or other unsafe driving practice that immediately places another person in significant danger. Some examples of road rage include:

  • Swearing or making rude gestures
  • Bumping or sideswiping another motorist
  • Performing a “brake check”
  • Forcing other motorists off the road

Both aggressive driving and road rage can lead to serious car crashes.

Road rage is a type of negligence

Road rage can form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit based on negligence. In order to prevail in a negligence lawsuit based on a road rage incident you need to prove the following.

First, all motorists have a duty to drive reasonably under the circumstances. Road rage is never reasonable. Second, this duty must be breached. Road rage breaches the duty to drive safely.

Third, the breach must cause your damages. This includes both actual cause, meaning but for the breach your damages would not have occurred, and proximate cause, meaning the damages were foreseeable based on the breach. Finally, you must have suffered compensable damages due to the road rage crash, such as medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering.