Road rage can happen in a fraction of an instant. One minute you’re driving down the road, minding your business and then the next thing you know, another angry driver is honking at you, making obscene gestures, and yelling at the top of their lungs.
As a motorist, this is a very dangerous situation to be in. The other driver could have a gun, or they could attempt to use their car as a weapon to force you off the road. Sometimes they will even speed up to get ahead of you, then slam on their brakes in an attempt to cause an accident.
A glance at the search results for “road rage in Seattle” shows multiple recent news stories about Washington motorists being involved in road rage confrontations. More recently, a woman from Alaska pointed a BB gun at another driver and his son in a fit of road rage.
We’re going to give you some tips on what to do if you’re driving along and suddenly finding yourself having to deal with another enraged motorist.
Sometimes all it takes is an “I’m sorry!” if you accidentally cut someone off, or unintentionally caused offense. Some people in life have very short tempers, and it doesn’t take much for them to go from “zero” to “road rage.”
An excellent way to attempt to diffuse a situation is to wave at the other driver, acknowledging that you made a mistake. If you signal to the other driver, be sure to use all five fingers lest it be interpreted the wrong way. Sometimes rolling down your window and saying “I’m sorry!” is all that it will take to calm the other driver down.
If appeasement isn’t working and the other driver is attempting to escalate the situation, you need to disengage immediately. Stop talking to them, roll up your windows and ignore them.
If the other driver wants to continue their fit of road rage, you have no other choice but to disengage. Roll up your windows and start looking for a safe, lighted, and public place (preferably with people outside) for you to park.
When it’s safe to do so, reach for your cell phone and dial “911” and follow the instructions of the 911 operator. Lock your doors if they’re not already locked and keep a safe distance from the other driver.
Remember: you don’t know the mental state of the other driver.
These are just three of many scenarios that you could find yourself in if you engage the other driver. You can unintentionally escalate the situation by trying to out run them or speed away. Call the police and let them come and deal with the situation.
If the other driver is clearly agitated and driving erratically while trying to pass or get in front of you, call “911” on your cell phone immediately. The other driver is now putting you, your passengers, as well as other motorists on the road in danger.
Remain calm and attempt to pull into a lighted public area where people are outside. Do NOT get out of your car. Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and stay on the phone with the police dispatcher. You should keep your engine running in case the other motorists continue to engage.
Road rage is genuine, and it doesn’t take much to set someone off in this day and age. Considering how much traffic and construction we have on our freeways, there’s always going to be someone who has a hot temper or short proverbial fuse. You can find more road rage safety tips on the website of the Washington State Patrol.
If you’ve been the victim of a road rage incident in the South Sound and would like legal advice, give us a call at (253) 472-6000 or contact us via our website. At Evergreen Personal Injury Counsel, our attorneys will fight hard for your rights and the justice that you deserve.