Almost everyone has felt road rage at one time or another. There’s something about driving that causes people to become angry when they are cut off or get behind someone going too slow. As a result, they might start engaging in offensive conduct, like laying on the horn or flipping you off. Unfortunately, some road rage drivers will escalate and start engaging in reckless behavior: speeding, tailgating, or even trying to deliberately hit your vehicle.
In this post, one of our Savannah motorcycle accident lawyers provides his best tips for how to respond to a driver who is showing classic signs of road rage.
Avoid Provoking the Driver
Something has triggered the driver who is riding your tail and laying on the horn. Maybe you accidentally cut them off or they are upset that you are even on the road. Some motorists hate sharing the road with motorcyclists as a general principle, and they never pass up an opportunity to show it.
The first thing you can do is avoid provoking them. They are already upset. There’s no reason to make them angrier by making offensive gestures yourself. In fact, you should avoid looking at them.
This is easier said than done. But one way to calm yourself is to count to three and take a big breath. The calmer you are, the easier it will be to protect yourself and take defensive action, if necessary.
Put Distance Between You
If you are on a multi-lane highway, then slow down so that the offending driver can get away. Once a few cars are in between you, the driver should calm down. When it comes to road ragers, the saying “out of sight is out of mind” is really true.
Let a Driver Pass You
What happens if the driver is right behind you? Let them pass.
Many road rage drivers are furious that they can’t go as fast as they want to. One way to defuse the situation is to let them pass. If they start passing around the bend, don’t increase your speed. Instead, let them get clear of your vehicle by slowing down yourself (if you can do so safely). Chances are you won’t see them again and you can enjoy a safe ride.
Take an Exit, if Necessary, to Get Away
If you fear for your safety, then try to get off the road. Look for the nearest exit on the highway or shoot onto a side street. Many road rage drivers will give you a final middle finger and then drive away.
However, a few might still follow you, which is why it’s critical not to stop on your bike. You want to avoid a physical confrontation. There are media reports of enraged motorists confronting other drivers with crowbars, baseball bats, and guns.
Drive to the Police Station if Followed
Despite your best efforts to get away, the driver might follow you. What now?
We recommend not stopping. Riding on a motorcycle, you are completely vulnerable to someone who might try to attack you. Instead, ride to the nearest police station. If you don’t know where that is, then go to any place where there is a crowd of people, like a busy gas station. Few road rage drivers will continue to pursue you if they are surrounded by a crowd. With luck, they’ll come to their senses and drive off.
How Dangerous is Road Rage?
Road rage is a definite hazard motorcyclists must be aware of. According to Simply Insurance:
- 4 out of 5 Americans have experienced road rage
- About 30 people are murdered each year in road rage accidents
- Gun-related road rage accidents have increased 100% from 2014 to 2016
Tailgating, yelling, and honking are the most common road rage behaviors. But about 4% of drivers have actually exited their vehicles to confront another motorist. A large percentage have also intentionally bumped other cars due to anger, which can of course lead to a serious accident.
Men are more prone to road rage than women, but drivers of all ages have confessed to engaging in dangerous behavior. It’s best to always be alert to signs of aggressive driving so you can protect yourself.
Contact Us after a Collision
Riders are vulnerable to angry motorists who can cut them off or force them from the road. It is vital to meet with an attorney who understands how to seek compensation when someone has caused an accident. Please call our law firm today, 1-866-529-2453 to talk about your injuries and whether you can sue.