The dangers associated with road rage are impossible to overstate. Negligent drivers are dangerous. Aggressive drivers are more so. And when it comes to drivers who engage in road rage, all bets are off. If you’re the victim of another driver’s road rage, obtaining just compensation is key to your recovery, and you need an experienced South Carolina car accident lawyer in your corner.
Road rage begins with aggressive driving and amps things up five or six notches from there. The hallmark of aggressive driving is speeding excessively, but aggressive drivers tend to combine aggressive driving practices, and they deliver a doozy of dangerous driving in the process. Common forms of aggressive driving include:
- Veering across lanes dangerously
- Zipping in and out of traffic
- Ignoring traffic signs, signals, and lights
- Ignoring warning lights and signs on the road and vehicles
- Attempting to engage other drivers with verbal harangues, with obscene gestures, with incessant honking, and by flashing the car’s headlights
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Passing illegally (including on the right or even on the shoulder)
- Stopping or slowing down dangerously in the middle of traffic
- Refusing to use signals
- Making turns on a dime and without warning
Because the risk of bumping a driver from aggressive to enraged is all too real, it’s essential never to engage with an aggressive driver and to always proceed with caution.
South Carolina Laws
There is no specific law on the books related to road rage in South Carolina, although one has been introduced (and is in committee) that would hold reckless drivers accountable when they cause injuries. Currently, the charge of reckless driving is a mere misdemeanor, and it only rises to the level of a felony if it results in death. Nonetheless, road rage is a very real problem that directly causes far too many life-threatening accidents on our roads and highways.
The Facts Broken Down
In a 2016 report, the AAA Newsroom shares that motorists who let the inconveniences of traffic and the rude driving practices of others get to them sometimes turn to road rage to let off steam (despite the nearly incalculable danger involved). Consider the following statistics:
- 51 percent of drivers self-reported purposefully tailgating someone else.
- 47 percent of drivers self-reported yelling at another driver; 45 percent of drivers self-reported honking to show annoyance; and 33 percent of drivers self-reported using angry gestures.
Things become more rage-filled and more dangerous from here, including:
- 24 percent of drivers self-reported purposefully attempting to block another motorist from changing lanes.
- 12 percent of drivers self-reported purposefully cutting off another driver.
- 4 percent of drivers self-reported getting out of their vehicles and confronting another driver.
This is scary stuff. While it’s natural to become frustrated behind the wheel when things go infuriatingly awry, it is dangerous and illegal to take this frustration out in the form of road rage. Every driver owes a duty of care to everyone else on the road, and this includes adhering to all driving laws and always allowing for the safe passage of others. There is no room in this calculation for aggressive driving or road rage.
The injuries closely associated with car accidents are severe, but they can be that much more so when you add in road rage. The at-fault drivers in these claims intentionally took their rage out behind the wheel, and many of them deliberately targeted specific other drivers. This means that – in essence – the driver who engaged in road rage intentionally caused you to be seriously harmed. Facing this alarming fact can be just as emotionally devastating as the accident in question was physically devastating. Some of the catastrophic injuries associated with road rage include:
- Spinal cord injuries, including paralysis
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
- Complicated bone breaks
- Severe cuts and lacerations
- life-threatening burns
- Limb loss and injuries that require amputations
Your Financial Damages
The damages you suffer as a result of an enraged motorist are likely to be overwhelming. In addition to the property damage to your car, there are significant financial damages that will add up very quickly.
Your Medical Costs
The medical expenses associated with severe injuries tend to extend well beyond your initial medical needs. Serious injuries can have lingering health implications and can lead to secondary health concerns and ongoing medical conditions. Typical expenses include:
- Emergency care at the scene of the accident and emergency transportation from the location of the accident
- Surgical care
- Medical tests and procedures
- Treatment from doctors, medical specialists, and other medical professionals
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Intensive pain management
- Prescription medications
- Home health care
- Adaptive physical devices and physical adaptations to home, vehicles, and office
Lost income on the Job
After suffering a severe injury, the healing process is often lengthy, and you’re likely to experience lost earnings as a result. This amounts to a double-edged financial whammy – as your medical expenses continue to mount. Things can become more complicated from here. Especially if your earning potential is affected and your career path is detoured. Because our jobs play such a critical role in our lives and identities, these losses can take on an emotional charge.
Your Physical and Emotional Damages
The physical and emotional damages you face are related to your physical and emotional pain and suffering. Living through a violent car accident and enduring the pain associated with the injuries you sustain can be overwhelming in and of itself. However, there is also emotional pain and suffering that is very common to severe accidents, and that must be addressed for you to heal fully. Some of the most common psychological symptoms include:
- Severe mood swings
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Bouts of depression
- Sleep disturbances that can include nightmares or night terrors
- Accident flashbacks
- Fear of driving
- Social anxiety and a tendency to push others away
- Increased irritability
- Swings in emotion that can include crying jags
An enraged motorist has injured you, and the journey toward renewed health can be long and difficult. However, the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions related to road rage claims can help you find your way.
What should my first steps be?
A motorist who engages in road rage has lost control of their common sense and may be more likely to flee the scene. Making a mental note to remember everything you can about the driver and their vehicle is an excellent place to start. If you can snap a few pictures, that is also a good idea. What you should not do, however, is engage with the at-fault driver. An enraged driver is a ticking time bomb, and there is no telling what they might do. Call 911, seek the medical attention you need, follow your doctor’s instructions carefully, and work closely with a dedicated car accident lawyer in South Carolina to help protect both your safety and your car accident claim.
How can I protect myself from aggressive drivers and their road rage?
Our lives are busy, and we all have places that we need to be. Additionally, traffic is often more than merely frustrating, and we all have our moments behind the wheel, but safe motorists don’t let these affect their driving. Aggressive drivers – and enraged drivers – are generally relatively easy to spot. They’re the ones who are out there purposefully making our roads more dangerous (often while targeting others on them). The best way to protect yourself is to give aggressive drivers in your midst as much room on the road as you can, to avoid engaging purposefully and to pull off and alert the authorities when it is safe to do so. You could help stop a road rage incident in its tracks.
What will my claim be worth?
Your claim will generate compensation that is commensurate with your verifiable physical, financial, and emotional damages. Because your claim is not exactly like any other, there’s no way to attach a value before the fact. Some of the factors that will directly affect the value of your claim, however, include:
- The severity of your damages
- The strength of your claim
- The extent to which you share the blame (if at all)
Seek the Professional Legal Counsel of an Experienced South Carolina Car Crash Attorney Today
Another motorist’s road rage is terrifying to experience as dangerous, and we’re here to help. The experienced car accident lawyers at David Aylor Law Offices have the experience, drive, and legal skills to help guide your claim toward a beneficial resolution that allows you to travel the path toward your most complete recovery. For more information, please don’t wait to contact or call us at 843-733-7662 today to schedule your free case evaluation.