Deep down, you know you do not own the road. However, it may be hard to resist the feeling that some other drivers really shouldn't be behind the wheel. It may seem more obvious when you are trying to get to work, eager to get home from work or in a hurry to be somewhere important, which is almost every time you are driving.
If you lose your temper from time to time, you are no different from most people. However, in Georgia and most other states, aggressive driving and road rage can lead to legal trouble as well as the potential for serious trouble on the road.
What is road rage?
Most drivers have moments of aggression. In fact, it is statistically proven that 50 percent of drivers who are the subject of another driver's road rage respond with their own aggressive actions. The problem is that this kind of retaliation can often escalate into a full-blown battle, and tempers can get out of control. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that aggressive driving is the cause of 66 percent of fatal traffic accidents, and almost 40 percent of road rage incidents involve a gun.
Some common examples of road rage behaviors include these:
- Honking the horn at a slow driver
- Flashing your headlights
- Slamming your brakes if a driver is following too closely
- Shouting, using obscene gestures, spitting or using other actions to convey your anger
You may be more susceptible to fits of rage while driving home after a stressful day at work or when you are feeling pressure from other areas of your life. Unfortunately, road rage can cause accidents and often endangers the lives of others who are not involved in your confrontation with another driver.
Penalties for aggressive driving
The NHTSA calls aggressive driving a traffic offense, but road rage is a crime. In other words, the penalties for road rage can be much harsher than those for an aggressive driving conviction. Like many other traffic offenses, a conviction for aggressive driving can lead to consequences that may include the following and other penalties:
- License suspension
- Hundreds or thousands in fines
- Points on your license
- Higher insurance premiums
If you are involved in an accident that causes injury to someone else, and police cite road rage or aggressive driving as a contributing factor, you may face time in jail. Since the laws regarding aggressive driving and road rage are very specific and a traffic incident may happen quickly, you would be wise to seek legal counsel if police charge you with either of these two offenses.