We Australians spend a lot of time on the road, and that means most of us are no strangers to road rage incidents. A survey from Budget Direct found that 45% of the population admitted to showing signs of road rage occasionally and that a staggering 72% of respondents had been the victim of road rage incidents. Being involved with an aggressive driver can be a frightening experience. Most of us are lucky to get away with a few rude words, but situations can quickly escalate to personal and property damage. To avoid that outcome, it is important for every driver on Brisbane’s roads to know what to do in a road rage incident.
How to Handle Road Rage Incidents
The best way to handle road rage is to avoid the situation. If you do find yourself sharing the road with an aggressive driver, you can take the following steps to avoid or defuse the situation:
- Do not engage the other driver. Avoid making eye contact or being drawn into shouting or gesturing.
- Stay away from aggressive drivers in traffic. Increase the distance between your car and theirs or choose an alternative route.
- Allow aggressive drivers to pass you. On multi-lane roads, allow aggressive drivers to pass you without incident. If you are being tailgated then maintain a consistent speed.
- Stay in your car. If you come to a stop, remain in the vehicle. If the other driver leaves their vehicle then lock your doors immediately.
- Do not drive straight home. When another driver is following you, drive to a public area or straight to the nearest police station.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
The behaviour of other drivers is out of your control in most situations. As such, there is nothing you can do to entirely avoid road rage incidents. To minimise your risk, however, the best tactic is to maintain your position as a good, safe driver and avoid attracting the attention of aggressive drivers. Minimise your risk of confrontation by:
- Following road rules
- Maintaining a safe distance from other cars
- Being mindful not to block lanes, driveways and intersections
- Using indicators to help other drivers predict your movements
- Driving in a careful and predictable manner
- Driving at the speed limit and keeping left on multi-lane roads
- Allowing other drivers to overtake and merge in traffic
- Not initiating or returning aggressive gestures and behaviours
Filing a Road Rage Claim
Even if you follow all of the above suggestions, it is still possible that you will be the victim of a road rage incident. Research suggests that as Brisbane’s roads become busier, the frequency of road rage incidents increases. That means many of the drivers who spend time on our roads each day may be targeted by an aggressive driver.
In most cases, these incidents are mild, only involving harsh words. If the situation escalates to physical violence or a collision between vehicles, you may be entitled to file a claim for a road rage incident. Road rage claims generally fall into several categories, depending on your mode of transport:
- Motor vehicle claims. As with car accidents, if a road rage incident causes damage to your car or the car of another driver, you may be entitled to make a motor vehicle claim. Claiming vehicle damage during a road rage incident can be difficult. Many insurers will not cover the damage caused by the at-fault driver. If your car is damaged in a road rage incident, it is important to seek professional advice as soon as possible to find out if you can make a claim.
- Personal injury claims. Some road rage incidents can escalate to physical violence or personal harm. It is possible to make personal injury claims to cover your medical expenses, lost income and undue or psychological suffering. As personal injuries sustained in car accidents can significantly worsen over time, you should seek medical attention and professional legal help as soon as possible.
- Pedestrian and bicycle claims. Pedestrians and cyclists are protected by Australian road rules. Personal injuries and property damage that you sustain as a cyclist or pedestrian may entitle you to make a claim against the at-fault parties during a road rage incident.
Contact Your Revolution Lawyer if You Are the Victim of a Road Rage Incident
If you are injured or your car is damaged during a road rage incident, seek professional advice as soon as possible. Your local Revolution Law team can make sure the incident is properly reported to authorities and insurance companies. We will also assess the incident and assist you to make any personal or motor vehicle claims you are entitled to. Get in touch with us today for a consultation and more information on making road rage compensation claims.