As a driver, you may know not to get behind the wheel if you are drunk or exhausted because you could make a mistake or wrong choice and wind up in a severe accident. However, driving when you are mad or upset can also be dangerous, though people do not always realize it.
Road rage incidents have increased dramatically during the pandemic, and the trend has taken a tragic toll on victims in Maryland and across the U.S.
How big of a problem is road rage?
Over the last year and a half, more than 40 people per month were shot in road rage incidents, nearly double the number recorded in the four years before.
More people get hurt in accidents caused by a driver who is:
- Driving erratically
- Following others too closely
- Cutting people off
These are all driving behaviors that people might engage in when they are experiencing road rage. These drivers are angry, upset and aggressive, and they take it out on the people around them.
And, the mounting stress and frustration brought on by the pandemic have not made the situation better.
Measures to reduce road rage
Local and state agencies have utilized several different tactics to try and combat road rage and aggressive driving. Some areas have used signage to remind drivers to slow down and calm down; others have changed traffic management systems to alleviate congestion.
However, changing driving behaviors starts with individuals who must decide to change them. Motorists hoping to avoid a road rage accident can:
- Pull over if they are getting agitated
- Listen to a relaxing podcast or calming music
- Focus on reaching a destination safely rather than quickly
- Give other drivers space
These simple decisions may be all it takes to avoid an accident and stay safe on the road.
After an accident
If you get hurt in a road rage accident, be aware that the other party will likely continue to be aggressive and possibly violent after the crash. They may try to flee the scene or accost you.
As such, crash victims will want to call the police and prioritize their personal safety. This could mean staying in your car until help arrives or recording the interaction with the other party to protect yourself. Chasing or pursuing a vehicle that flees the scene is dangerous and can lead to bigger problems. If your vehicle is insured under a Maryland automobile insurance policy, the coverage, by law, will include Uninsured Motorist coverage. This coverage steps in during hit and run accidents, and should not affect your insurance rates. If you are involved in such an accident, you should contact experienced counsel to help you ensure you are covered.