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Auto Accidents, Road Rage and California Law

Most people who drive in the Bay Area on a regular basis know what road rage looks like. When you’re on the road, it’s easy to point out a driver that’s experiencing a bout of road rage, as the shouting of expletives and consistent horn-blowing give it away. Sadly, in a recent nationwide survey conducted by AutoVantage auto club, San Francisco ranked among the top ten U.S. cities for incidents of road rage. Also known as aggressive driving, road rage is extremely dangerous because it’s made up of two things that can be deadly on the roads: irrational emotion and poor decision making.

California Laws Concerning Road Rage

As of 2013, 11 states have enacted their own aggressive driving laws. While California has not developed specific road rage laws, the state does have current legislation in place that prohibits reckless driving. Anyone who drives a car in a way that shows blatant disregard for the safety of others (or their property) is guilty of reckless driving. This allows authorities to charge drivers, looking at the surrounding circumstances, the driver’s intent and their actions. Road rage, or aggressive driving, is therefore seen as reckless driving in the state of California.

Road Rage and Auto Accidents

Of the top five causes of auto accidents in America, road rage is listed at number four. It’s no secret that San Francisco has problems with bumper-to-bumper traffic, especially during peak driving hours of the day. Traffic congestion is one of the main culprits known to cause drivers to become aggressive. Let’s face it; no one wants to spend hours sitting in heavy traffic, moving inch by inch as time continues to tick by. When this congestion simply becomes too much to bear, some drivers “snap” and become extremely angry and aggressive. That anger is often only the fire that is needed to fuel life-altering auto accidents.

There are other factors that can be involved in road rage auto accidents, including alcohol, drugs or personal problems. However, one thing should be made clear…every driver is ultimately responsible for his or her own driving behavior. People with road rage are more likely to either cause or be involved in an auto accident, putting themselves and everyone in their path at serious risk for personal injury.

Looking at the statistics, young men are at the highest risk for developing road rage. In addition, younger and less experienced drivers become more easily aggravated on the road. According to a recently released survey, 56 percent of men admitted that they experience road rage on a daily basis, while only 44 percent of women admitted the same. Men are also more likely to retaliate against other drivers who are experiencing road rage, contributing to additional personal injuries and auto accidents.

What are the Signs of a Road Rage Driver?

While there are many different symptoms that can indicate a driver is experiencing road rage, some of the more common are:

  • Sudden unsafe and erratic lane changes
  • Yelling at other drivers
  • Intermittent braking and acceleration
  • Following other drivers too closely (tailgating)
  • Cutting other vehicles off

More Information

If you were injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s aggressive driving or road rage, you may be entitled to recover damages for your medical bills, lost wages, disability, pain, suffering and other losses. To understand your rights under California law, it is important to consult with an experienced San Francisco personal injury attorney who understands these cases.

For victims of a road rage accident, the consequences can be severe and life-altering. The trusted attorneys at the law office of Nelson C. Barry stand ready to fight for your legal rights and pursue the maximum compensation available when an aggressive driver’s actions leave you injured. Call us today at (415) 587-0550 to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.


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