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Road Rage, Aggressive Driving and Car Accidents

By Matt Lalande in Car Accidents on July 05, 2022

Road Rage, Aggressive Driving and Car Accidents

What Exactly is Road Rage?

Chances are you have personally come into contact with an irate driver, which is unfortunately a common occurrence on Ontario roadways, particularly in urban areas.  Road rage, or aggressive driving, is an escalating problem in Ontario and can lead to serious car accidents. and related injuries. Did you know that from 2014 to 2021, road rage and the aggressive acts of driving resulted in 218 murders and 12, 610 injuries? Although there is no set definition of “road rage” in Ontario, the concept and definitions range from simply “loss of emotional control while driving”.

It is known as aggressive driving – or aggressive violence or threatened violence resulting from a road user’s uncontrolled anger over an incident. Road rage often refers to issues such as tailgating, , cutting-off other motorists, sudden braking while others are behind you, blocking other drivers from passing or merging into a different lane, rude or profane gestures, screaming at other motorists, chasing other cars through traffic, engaging in verbal or physical altercations because of driving or road issues, intentionally hitting other cars, the excessive use of the horn or lights to scold or blind other motorists, and flashing or using firearms or other deadly weapons o threaten or hurt other motorists.

Injuries that result from road rage car accidents can lead to, in the worst cases, a fatal accident or physical and mental conditions that can affect your daily life, including your ability to care for yourself, your family, work and earn income. If you have been involved in a car accident as a result of road rage, you may be eligible for financial compensation for your injuries. Our Hamilton car accident lawyers have been serving victims of car accidents since 2003, and have successfully recovered tens of millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. Our car accident lawyers have experience dealing with cases of car accidents that result in injury and can help you if you have been injured in a road rage car accident. 

Road Rage Statistics

In April 2021, a survey by InsuranceHotline.com reported a number of startling statistics about road rage and related behaviour among Canadian drivers. Over 1,500 Canadians across the country were polled about their driving habits and behaviour behind the wheel:

  • 95% of drivers interviewed admitted to experiencing road rage. 
  • 85% of drivers admit to speeding.
  • 73% responded that they “regularly feel frustrated” at other drivers. 
  • 60% have honked out of anger or frustration.
  • 58% of drivers have aggressively weaved in and out of traffic.
  • 57% admit to swearing and making offensive hand gestures.

Despite efforts by law enforcement to manage road safety, there is a lot of evidence that road rage continues to be a serious threat to the safety of all drivers and passengers on Canadian roads. 

Examples of road rage in Canada

  • In April 2021, a road rage driver pulled out a gun and pointed it at another driver in Windsor, Ontario. 
  • In May 2021, a man in Calgary, Alberta was the victim of a road rage driver. The road rage driver yelled and honked at the man while tailgating him, eventually speeding out in front and cutting him off, forcing the victim to stop his car to avoid a car accident.
  • In August 2021 in Moncton, New Brunswick, a road rage driver forced a driver to stop his car after being passed on the road. The road rage driver then approached the vehicle and attacked the driver of the other vehicle through the open driver’s side window. 
  • In February 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, a road rage driver ran a vehicle into a victim, trapping him against his own vehicle. The victim suffered some bodily injury but survived. 
  • In May 2022 in Calgary, Alberta, two vehicles were driving aggressively, speeding down the street. There were gunshots exchanged between both vehicles, fatally injuring another driver who was caught in the crossfire. 

What are some of the main causes of road rage?

Road rage can be caused by something that has nothing to do with the driving experience. Since it’s impossible to know what is happening in the lives of the drivers on the road, anticipating road rage as a result of personal issues is extremely challenging. It might be the case that someone is going through a particularly bad time and it has an impact on their ability to be a calm, responsible driver. These causes may have to do with the driver’s background, lifestyle choices and level of physical or mental function: 

  • Feeling extremely tired or fatigued
  • Having a mental condition that makes it challenging for drivers to control their emotions or makes them prone to outbursts and aggressive behaviour
  • Negative built-up emotions from issues in work and life
  • Alcohol or substance use

On the other hand, poor driving experiences can also be the direct cause of road rage. There are a number of reasons that can make driving unpleasant or uncomfortable, and any one of these reasons could cause someone to lose control and lead to road rage:

  • Impatience because of traffic delays, congestion and slow-moving traffic
  • Anger at another driver’s actions (e.g. being cut off or not allowed to merge into a lane, etc.)
  • Frustration because the driver is in a rush or late for an appointment

What are some examples of actions that result from road rage

  • Screaming and using aggressive language 
  • Using aggressive head gestures
  • Honking in an aggressive manner
  • Speeding
  • Cutting people off in traffic
  • Weaving through traffic or switching lanes at high speeds
  • Brake checking, or intentionally braking to force the driver behind to brake. 
  • Tailgating, or aggressively following a driver without maintaining a safe distance
  • Showing a weapon as a threat to other drivers
  • Exiting the vehicle to threaten other drivers with physical violence or actually physically attacking other drivers
  • Exiting the vehicle and aggressively confronting other drivers

Where does Road Rage generally occur?

Knowing likely spots for road rage car accidents is a good start to avoiding them. For drivers whose road rage is the result of some past experience or mental issues, it is impossible to predict if and when they might lose control of themselves. Aside from these cases, there are a few situations that are more prone to instances of road rage than others: 

Rush hour traffic: Being stuck for hours in traffic is not a pleasant experience for anybody. It’s not surprising that this is one of the most common triggers for road rage. 

Construction zones: A road rage driver may not have the patience to wait for the traffic to thin out after a construction zone ends, and may attempt to skip through aggressively, putting both other drivers as well as construction workers at risk. 

Highways: The high speeds that cars travel on highways is an added stress for a road rage driver who might already be dealing with personal problems. Driving alongside tractor-trailers and trucks can also be a stressor for someone in a smaller personal vehicle. Frustrated drivers who are nervous about driving behind or beside a larger vehicle might speed up aggressively in order to get in front of a truck, which can result in a road rage accident.

Local areas: People may road rage when driving in areas they’re more comfortable in, such as the neighbourhoods around their homes, since that familiarity gives them an inflated sense of confidence about their knowledge and driving abilities. This overconfidence can result in unsafe and aggressive driving, such as speeding, stunt driving or ignoring traffic signals.

Road Range Injuries can be Life Changing

Road rage car accidents can be catastrophic for anyone involved, pedestrian, driver or passenger. Road rage car accidents can result in injuries that can result in serious physical and mental consequences, including work disability:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI): Car accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI), which is an injury to the brain caused by a blow to the head, like the impact of the head hitting the inside panel of the car in a road rage car accident where the victim crashes into an object or another vehicle. Experiencing a traumatic brain injury can mean any number of a range of serious symptoms that can affect someone’s ability to do everyday tasks or return to full function at the workplace including blacking out or losing consciousness, difficulty sleeping, inability to focus or concentrate, memory loss and other issues such as depression.

Back injuries: Someone who has survived a road rage car accident can develop lower back pain (LBP), which can cause weakness in the legs, chronic lower back pain and discomfort while sitting. Not only can this mean lengthy rehabilitation and recovery but it can also be a lasting condition that can lead to injured workers losing their jobs or the ability to work at the same level as before the car accident.

Neck and spine injury: Whiplash is a neck injury that is extremely common in cases of car accidents. Even if the driver or passenger is safely secured with a seatbelt, the head and neck often snap back and forth during a car accident and collision. This can result in fatigue, headaches, neck pain and stiffness.  

Broken bones/fractures: Broken bones and fractures are extremely common in cases of road rage car accidents. Depending on the location and degree of the break, it can mean weeks of recovery and immobility, followed by more time spent in rehabilitation. 

Internal bleeding/damage: Aside from visible injuries, many victims of car accidents can suffer from internal injuries, such as bleeds from broken ribs, intracranial hemorrhaging (bleeding in the brain) and damage to internal organs. Even if a victim is able to walk away from a car accident, there might be long-lasting damage done that won’t appear until a proper medical examination is conducted. 

Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury: Traumatic SCI’s are devastating, life changing injuries that happens when there is damage to the spinal cord whcih then blocks the neurological communication between the brain and the body. The victim’s sensory, motor and reflex messages from the brain are negatively affected and as a result, will not get past the lesion in the spinal cord. Normally, the higher up on the spinal cord the injury happens, the more dysfunction a person will experience. SCI’s arenormally referred to as complete or incomplete, based on whether any movement and sensation occurs at or below the level of injury.

What to do if you are driving next to a road rage driver

The first priority in situations where you may be driving near a road rage driver is your own safety. Although it may be tempting to confront the driver yourself, this almost always result in even more serious injuries (to yourself and the other driver).

  • Focus on driving and not on the other driver;
  • Try to let the road rage driver get through or on his or her way. (e.g. change lanes or slow down to avoid interacting with the road rage driver);
  • Don’t respond with aggressive gestures or actions;
  • Avoid making eye contact;
  • Never leave your vehicle, close your windows and lock your doors; and
  • in cases that the road rage driver continues to abuse you, pull over safely and call the police. If you’re able, start recording the situation on your phone or another recording device when it’s safe to do so.

Road Rage, Aggresive Driving and Car Accidents

Absolutely.  Both aggressive driving and road rage can lead to violence on the road and cause serious accidents. For example, drivers who tailgate or purposefully cut-off other cars in a rage can be tremendously dangerous to other motorists on the road.  In our experience, drivers experiencing road rage often cause accidents as a result of their uncontrolled abrasive behavior. They are engaged in hostile aggressive thinking and driving behavior. They are emotionally overtaken and lack common sense.They take more risks on the road. Highly-angered and irate drivers are more likely to go well over the speed limit, rapidly switch lanes, tailgate, and enter an intersection when the light turns red – all of which can cause a serious accident. Road rage in Ontario has been a huge safety risk for years, which has contributed to numerous accidents and even deaths throughout the Province.

Have you or a loved one suffered life-changing injuries in a serious car accident?

Road rage is an experience that hopefully no driver ever has to deal with. However, the statistics and stories show that road rage and road rage car accidents continue to occur, and even seem to be on the rise. The aggressive driving of road rage drivers can cause car accidents that result in serious injury and possible long-term work disability. 

It’s very important that you speak to one of our Hamilton car accident lawyers if you have been involved in a car accident. Automobile insurance law in Ontario is extremely complex and if your loved one is been hurt, it’s important that you retain an experienced lawyer with a particular focus on car accident law. Do not try to fight this battle alone. You need a personal injury lawyer who can help.

Our Hamilton car accident lawyers serve victims all over Ontario. Matt Lalande has represented thousands of victims and recovered tens of millions of dollars over the past 20 years. Call Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers today to talk about your personal injury case. We never charge new clients to talk about their issues. Our consultations are free. And if we decide to work together, the fee is free. You only pay when and if we win your case.

Call us today at 1-844-LALANDE or local throughout Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888  Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website about your car accident and we will be happy to get back to you as soon as possible.  

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FAQ Summary

What is Road Rage?

It is known as aggressive driving – or aggressive violence or threatened violence resulting from a road user’s uncontrolled anger over an incident. Road rage often refers to issues such as tailgating, , cutting-off other motorists, sudden braking while others are behind you, blocking other drivers from passing or merging into a different lane, rude or profane gestures, screaming at other motorists, chasing other cars through traffic, engaging in verbal or physical altercations because of driving or road issues, intentionally hitting other cars, the excessive use of the horn or lights to scold or blind other motorists, and flashing or using firearms or other deadly weapons o threaten or hurt other motorists.

What causes extreme road rage?

Extreme road rage is caused by the total loss of emotional control while driving.

What is the most common form of road rage?

The most common forms of road rage are:

Screaming and using aggressive language 
Using aggressive head gestures
Honking in an aggressive manner
Speeding
Cutting people off in traffic
Weaving through traffic or switching lanes at high speeds
Brake checking, or intentionally braking to force the driver behind to brake. 
Tailgating, or aggressively following a driver without maintaining a safe distance
Showing a weapon as a threat to other drivers
Exiting the vehicle to threaten other drivers with physical violence or actually physically attacking other drivers
Exiting the vehicle and aggressively confronting other drivers

Is road rage a form of anxiety?

It depends. Anxiety that goes undiagnosed or unmedicated may cause a person to lose control and lash out in anger over simple occurences that do not usually do not warrant an emotional reaction.

How do you deal with drivers that have road rage?

Focus on driving and not on the other driver; Try to let the road rage driver get through or on his or her way. (e.g. change lanes or slow down to avoid interacting with the road rage driver); Don’t respond with aggressive gestures or actions; Avoid making eye contact; and in cases that the road rage driver continues to abuse you, pull over safely and call the police. If you’re able, start recording the situation on your phone or another recording device when it’s safe to do so.

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