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What elements create a road rage or aggressive driving scenario?

One minute you are minding your own business driving home from work, and the next moment your heart is racing as another driver has taken offense and is chasing you down, trying to run you off the road. This situation shows that road rage can happen when you least expect it in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. Road rage’s cousin, aggressive driving, is also common and may threaten your safety.

You may have heard about an incident last February, in which two men were killed in gunfire at a gas station in Allentown. Witnesses claimed the confrontation escalated after one of the men’s vehicle bumped another one and reportedly left the scene, before they caught up with each other at the gas station. This case of road rage is extreme, yet shows how tempers can flare out of control and people can use weapons against each other during a confrontation in traffic.

Road rage vs. aggressive driving

You may be surprised to learn that road rage is a criminal offense that occurs when one driver deliberately attempts to cause harm to another. The American Safety Council explains that a person engaging in road rage may use a firearm or other weapon, a tool inside the vehicle or the vehicle itself to hurt someone. He or she may attempt to force the other driver out of the car for a confrontation. In contrast, aggressive driving involves reckless behaviors that may endanger others, such as tailgating, speeding, cutting people off or swerving in and out of traffic. Aggressive driving counts as a traffic offense.

Disturbing statistics

You know that road rage entails more than a few isolated incidents, but you may not realize the true scope of the problem. Over a seven-year period, road rage was responsible for 218 murders and 12,610 injuries. Authorities believe some form of aggressive driving causes 66 percent of all traffic fatalities.

A negligent or aggressive driver who harms you may be held responsible for your injuries. Someone who deliberately attacks you can also face criminal charges.