Road rage occurs when a motorist’s anger escalates into a physical or mental confrontation with another driver. Washington was ranked the ninth-worst state for road wage in 2022, according to an analysis by Forbes.
Road rage and aggressive driving are often linked and may cause personal injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, aggressive driving is a category of behaviors that includes any driving in a manner that endangers or likely endangers people or property. It includes reckless driving, such as following another vehicle too closely, driving at excessive speed, weaving through traffic, and running stop lights and traffic signs.
Road rage is behavior or actions that is an extreme form of road rage. According to the Washington State Patrol, it is an assault with a vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator of passenger of another vehicle caused by an incident occurring on a roadway.
The NHTSA identified some causes of road rage. These include:
- Traffic delays because of road maintenance, a crash or heavy traffic
- Being late
- Feeling anonymous from the rest of the world while driving
- Disregard for other drivers or traffic laws
- Only normal behavior for some people
The Washington State Department of Licensing also designates stress and frustration as causes. It identified other common symptoms:
- Thinking about violence toward others
- Condemning other people’s driving to occupants in your vehicle
- Flaunting traffic safety rules that you disagree with
A motorist with aggressive driving or road rage symptoms may engage in speeding, excessive honking, tailgating, brake-checking, excessive headlight flashing, and failure to yield the right of way.
What to do
This behavior can lead to assault and crashes. When facing another motorist’s aggressive driving, use some of these tips:
- Change lanes safely or exit the roadway
- Avoid eye contact or responding to the other driver
- Drive to the nearest police station
- Do not stop to confront the driver
If you see a road rage incident, call 9-1-1 and provide as many of these details as possible:
- The vehicle’s last location
- Its plate number
- The direction it was driving
- Highway or road
- The vehicle’s color
- Whether weapons were involved in the incident
- What happened during the incident
- Whether you are a victim or witness
Victims of a crash or other traffic incident may be entitled to compensation. Attorneys can assist them with developing a case and pursuing their rights.