Congested traffic, such as that found on McAllister Freeway between Stone Oak Parkway and Loop 1604, can put anyone in a bad mood. However, when this bad mood develops into dangerous driving behavior, it can contribute to some of the most catastrophic accidents on the road.
Road rage crashes often lead to debilitating injuries, excruciating pain, and astronomical medical expenses that forever impact victims and their loved ones.
Yet, although “road rage” seems to refer to a driving term tossed around by many drivers, most people are not actually sure what it means or the legal remedies they have if they have been harmed because of this dangerous driving behavior. That is why, in this blog post, we will go over everything you need to know about road rage accidents in San Antonio and the steps you need to take if you are ever in such a devastating incident.
What Is Road Rage?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), aggressive driving is defined as occurring when a motorist commits a combination of moving traffic offenses to endanger other property or people.
This aggressive driving term emerged during the 1990s as a label for a category of dangerous on-the-road behaviors, such as driving at excessive speeds and running stoplights. This behavior also has been known to escalate into lewd gestures or yelling at others individuals on the road, physical assault, confrontation, and even murder.
As a result, road rage is the label that emerged to describe the violent and angry behaviors that came out of aggressive driving. This term often refers to aggressive behavior that motorists exhibit behind the wheel, such as tailgating, cursing, rude gestures, physical assault, swerving, and honking.
However, although these two terms mean almost the same thing, there is one important distinction between aggressive driving and road rage, and that has to do with the consequences that result. For instance, while aggressive driving is a traffic violation, road rage is often considered a criminal offense.
Road Rage by the Numbers
As our streets and highways have become busier and more congested with motorists, the occurrence of road rage has continued to surge at alarming rates. In fact, in the last year, almost 30 murders in the United States were the result of road rage. However, that is not all.
- Almost eight in ten Americans are involved in some type of road rage behavior at least once a year.
- Around 47 percent or 95 million United States drivers have yelled at another motorist in traffic, while 45 percent or 91 million motorists have honked excessively to express their anger.
- Road rage is often listed as an exemption in motor vehicle insurance policies, leading to zero coverage for road rage offenses.
- Around two percent of drivers have admitted to trying to run another car off the road.
- Approximately one in three car crashes involves road rage.
- On average, six million drivers in the United States bump another vehicle on purpose, and around 104 million drivers tailgate on purpose.
- Nearly 25 million American motorists cut other drivers off on purpose.
- Almost eight million drivers in the United States get out of the vehicle to confront another driver.
Unfortunately, these numbers do not fare any better for San Antonio. According to a state database that tracks all motor vehicle accidents in Texas, during four years, sheriff’s deputies and police officers in Bexar County cited road rage as contributing factor in 680 wrecks that harmed around 280 people.
These numbers even exceeded the amount of road-rage crashes that were reported in larger counties with more traffic and residents.
For example, in one year, the police reported four road rage incidents for every 100,000 licensed motorists in Dallas and Harris Counties. In comparison, in Bexar County, road rage was almost twice that, with ten road rage accidents reported for every 100,000 licensed drivers.
Common Road Rage Behaviors in San Antonio
Road rage comes in many different forms and includes everything from yelling at other drivers to dangerous driving behaviors that can cause extensive property damage and serious bodily injuries.
However, in general, some of the more common road rage behaviors that tend to occur in San Antonio include:
- Passing another motorist illegally
- Erratic driving, such as operating a motor vehicle in a careless or reckless manner
- Using the car horn excessively
- Brake checking
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Cutting other motorists off
- Using confrontational body language
- Failing to yield to the right of way
- Blocking other motor vehicles trying to change lanes or pass
- Following another car improperly
- Using high beams or flashing headlights
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Failing to obey safety zones
- Not using a turn signal before making any turns
- Racing or speeding
- Disregarding traffic signals and signs
- Driving on the road’s median, the sidewalks, or the shoulders
- Failing to obey safety zones
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General Causes of Road Rage in San Antonio
Unfortunately, when it comes to road rage, there is usually not one single event that causes this behavior. Instead, it is often a culmination of different feelings and experiences the motorist has to face. For instance, road rage frequently develops due to feeling disrespected on the road or relating to a personal situation the motorist is going through.
Yet, although each situation is different, some of the more common causes of this dangerous behavior include:
- A need to get to a destination quickly
- A driver’s lack of politeness
- A sense of anonymity
- Slow motorists
- Heavy traffic, especially on Highway 1604, Culebra Rd, and on Highway 281 heading north
- Failing to check blind spots
- Changing lanes without using a blinker
- Disregard for others and the law
- Habitual behavior
- Bad-tempered mood
However, no matter the reason behind the road rage, there is no excuse for putting other individuals’ lives in danger. That is why if you have been harmed in a motor vehicle crash due to this aggressive driving behavior, you need to reach out to an experienced road rage attorney today and have these lawyers fight for the financial recovery and justice you deserve.
Common Injuries Resulting from a San Antonio Road Rage Crash
Road rage crashes are known to result in extensive harm and damages. In truth, these accidents can cause damage to virtually any part of the body.
However, even though the extent and severity of these injuries will depend on the circumstances of the crash, some of the more common injuries that tend to stem from a road rage accident include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord damage
- Deep lacerations
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal organ damage
- Back and neck injuries
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Significant scarring
- Crushing injuries
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Wrongful death
Actions to Take After a San Antonio Road Rage Accident
If you are in a road rage accident, you may feel tempted to go off on the driver who caused the accident. However, this can often worsen the situation and possibly escalate the crash into a deadly encounter. That is why it is best to keep level-headed, even if you are upset following this collision.
Yet, this does not mean you should not take any action after the crash. Realistically, the steps you take after this accident can not only help keep you safe but can also protect your legal rights. For these reasons, following a San Antonio road rage collision, you should consider doing the following:
Contact the Police Immediately
Right after the San Antonio road rage accident, you should contact 911 immediately and inform them of the situation. You will also want to let them know if the other driver is threatening you. Not only is this the fastest way to get certain personnel, such as emergency medical services, to the scene, but it is also the quickest way to get your accident on record.
Once the police arrive, they can handle the other driver if they are unruly and start investigating the crash, documenting their findings in their police report. If you decide to pursue a legal claim following this accident, this police report can provide you with valuable evidence regarding the incident.
Collect Evidence From the Scene
If it is safe, try to take as many videos and pictures of the accident scene as you can, including the vehicles involved, their placement on the road, your visible injuries, skid marks on the street, traffic signals near the area, the weather conditions at the time of the accident, and any other details that can help show what happened.
Get Driver Details
Try to exchange information with all the drivers involved in the accident, such as names, phone numbers, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information. However, if you are nervous to talk to the other driver because of their actions or they are threatening you, avoid any discussions with them.
Instead, stay in your car or at another safe location until the police arrive. These officers can obtain this information from the other driver and write it down in their police report.
Check for Witnesses
If there were individuals present at the scene, make sure you get their names and numbers. These witness statements can often provide you with further details regarding the crash and help back up your claim.
Get to a Doctor as Soon as Possible
Even if you do not require emergency medical attention, you should still see a doctor as soon as possible following your San Antonio road rage accident. In many cases, serious injuries such as brain trauma can take days to show up. Yet, the longer you wait to seek medical treatment, the more severe the injury can become. That is why, do not hold off this check-up, rather head to your physician as soon as you can.
Additionally, this prompt medical treatment can also help your claim. Following a car crash, the insurance company will often try to do anything they can to provide you less money than you deserve or deny your case. By not getting a medical evaluation after your accident, these insurers will argue that your injuries are not that severe or result from a subsequent event.
When a medical professional sees you after your crash, these doctors can document your injuries in their medical report, providing you with evidence of a direct link between the road rage collision and the injuries you endured.
Contact an Experienced Road Rage Accident Attorney to Get the Legal Help You Need
Although no amount of money can fully erase the damage and losses you experienced because of a San Antonio road rage accident, obtaining compensation for your harm can help you start rebuilding your life and get the justice you deserve. For these reasons, after such a traumatic incident, you should work with an experienced San Antonio car accident lawyer that can help you fight for the financial recovery you are entitled to.
Your lawyers can:
- Evaluate your potential legal claim, go over the legal options you have, and provide you the legal advice you need during this challenging time.
- Go over all the questions and concerns you have regarding the accident.
- Investigate the incident and secure the evidence needed to show fault and damages.
- Hold all the at-fault parties accountable for the damages and losses you sustained.
- Bring in the experts such as accident reconstructionists to help establish liability and substantiate your claims.
- Handle all the negotiations and discussions with the other side, including the insurance company, and work to get you a just settlement.
- Prepare your case for trial, if needed, and fight to bring your case to a successful resolution.
If a San Antonio road rage accident harmed you or a family member, do not wait any longer to seek legal assistance.