It's no wonder you get angry when another driver cuts you off, but anger alone doesn't mean you've got road rage. If you let that anger manifest into aggressive actions, rude gestures, verbal insults or dangerous driving, that's a different story.
The term "road rage" was coined after a string of freeway shootings occurred in Los Angeles in the 80s, though this kind of extreme driving had been around since long before that time. It's a prime example of why driving is so dangerous - drivers can easily put emotion before logic, which is a recipe for disaster.
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Things Aren't Looking Up for Texas
Road rage builds fast. When people get aggravated with other drivers, they may feel like getting revenge by cutting the driver off or shouting out the window. Often, road rage stems from impatience: impatience at a red light, impatience behind a slower car, impatience at other "bad" drivers.
Apparently, Texans' impatience is worse than others'. According to an annual AutoVantage survey of 2,500 drivers nationwide, Dallas and Houston have historically ranked high in road rage incidents. In 2009, Dallas drivers were ranked the second rudest in the country. In 2014, Houston claimed the number one spot for the angriest drivers.
Do You Succumb to Road Rage?
Unlike drinking or texting, road rage isn't considered a major driving distraction. It should be. Studies have shown over and over that our emotions play a huge role in our ability to concentrate, especially when we're behind the wheel. If you're angry or annoyed, you'd be smart to pull over and take a breather. If the emotion is particularly strong, DMV.org suggests taking a short walk until you feel calm enough to drive again.
Road rage isn't just for the aggressive, either. Most road ragers simply feel stressed after a long day or are in a rush to get where they're going. Feeling hurried or worried can easily turn to anger. If you're a constant victim of the clock, reevaluate your daily schedule. Have you overbooked yourself? Will you be rushed to your next appointment? Will the stress and impatience cause you to speed or to get angry at other cars "in your way?" Part of avoiding road rage is anticipating it.
What if a City Vehicle Driver Exhibits Road Rage?
With Dallas-Fort Worth's unfortunate road rage ranking, it's clear that civilians aren't the only ones doing the damage. City workers are as susceptible to anger as the rest of us, but what happens when a city driver exhibits road rage? And if you've been in an accident with an angry Dallas-Fort Worth employee, can you sue?
Though people might assume that city drivers like mailmen, utility workers and even firefighters and police officers are somehow protected by the law, they aren't. If you've been hit by a city employee for any reason, know that you have rights and you can recover compensation.
Filing a claim against DFW isn't quite like filing a claim against another driver, though. The system can get tricky, so I'd recommend consulting with your personal injury attorney in the area.
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"I Was Hit By an Angry Driver. Now What?"
No matter how safe a driver you try to be, you can't always account for the actions of others. I've handled cases where road rage was responsible for serious accidents and unfair injury, all because another driver overreacted and personalized a driving situation. If you're targeted by a road rager, it's best to apologize. Yes - really. Mouth the word sorry or make a silly grimace to diffuse the situation. Even if you think you've done nothing wrong, you're better to apologize and move on than be attacked - even assaulted - by an angry driver.
If you've been injured in an accident caused by an angry driver in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the first priority will be to gather evidence quickly before time washes it all away. This isn't always easy, so I'd recommend consulting a personal injury attorney with experience handing road rage accidents in Texas.