Car Accident Due to Aggressive Driver
All motorists have a duty to operate their vehicles responsibly and prevent those around them from coming to harm. Unfortunately, aggressive drivers often fail to consider the safety of other road users. Whether running a red light, erratically changing lanes, or giving in to road rage, aggressive driving behaviors can quickly turn deadly.
In one recent year, 2,051 aggressive driving accidents occurred, according to an annual crash statistics report by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
If you have been injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you deserve to be compensated for any expenses and other losses you suffered. Having a San Antonio car crash attorney to advocate for you can mean the difference between recovering a fair settlement and having your claim unfairly reduced or denied.
At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, our San Antonio auto accident lawyers have a reputation for holding aggressive drivers accountable for their misconduct. We offer our potential clients a free, no-risk initial consultation to get to know our team and discuss their legal options. Contact our office today to get started with yours.
What Is Aggressive Driving?
Aggressive driving is a broad term that covers a wide range of driving behaviors. Generally, the term describes behaviors that endanger others and disregard traffic laws. Some of the most prevalent types of aggressive driving include:
- Tailgating (following at an unsafe distance)
- Rolling through stop signs
- Suddenly braking in front of another vehicle
- Cutting off other motorists
- Making lewd gestures, persistently honking, and shouting
- Failing to yield to crossing or passing traffic
- Disobeying traffic signs and rules
- Ignoring traffic signals
- Passing stopped school buses
- Refusing to stop when signaled by a law enforcement officer
These are just a handful of behaviors that can be considered aggressive driving. If you were injured in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you have a legal right to seek financial relief from them.
What Is the Difference Between Aggressive Driving and Road Rage?
According to the Texas Department of Insurance, the difference between aggressive driving and outright road rage is largely one of degree. Road rage may include such behavior like:
- Cursing or making lewd gestures at other drivers
- Throwing items at other motorists
- Deliberately hitting other vehicles
- Running other motorists off the road
- Physically attacking other drivers
However, it’s important to understand that “road rage” is more a colloquial term than a legal one. The difference between road rage and generally aggressive driving is largely semantic. When the underlying behaviors rise from merely rude or aggressive to intimidating or violent, they can become a crime. They can also cause serious accidents that could have easily been avoided had the offending driver kept their cool.
What Causes Aggressive Driving and Road Rage in San Antonio?
Motorists often drive aggressively if they are late for work, under stress, or feel another motorist has disrespected them. Regardless of the motivation, driving aggressively puts others at risk.
Road rage is often an outsized response to frustration, anger, or a perceived slight. Driving is an inherently stressful activity, and some people have difficulty moderating their emotions under such conditions. For example, motorists may become enraged if they believe that they have been wronged by another driver.
Some of the most common causes of road rage include:
- Being in a rush to get to a destination
- An illusion of anonymity, since the angry driver is shielded by their vehicle
- High levels of stress from unrelated factors, such as work or relationship problems
- Misplaced anger or bad tempers
- Disregard for traffic safety laws
- Environmental factors, including heavy traffic, especially on major corridors like Highway 281 or Culebra Rd
While anyone can give in to road rage under the right circumstances, some drivers are more prone to such behavior than others. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), young males are the most likely demographic to exhibit road rage.
Regardless of why a motorist may become angry behind the wheel, those who put others’ lives at risk have no excuse for their behavior. If an angry, aggressive driver harmed you, you deserve to be compensated for your expenses and other losses. At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we are ready to fight for the money and justice you deserve for an accident that wasn’t your fault.
When Does Aggressive Driving Become a Legal Issue?
Aggressive driving can constitute a crime in some cases, such as when:
- The aggressive driver was violating traffic laws, such as running red lights or failing to obey traffic signage, for instance
- The aggressive driver was behaving recklessly and endangered others
- The aggressive driver injured or killed someone with their vehicle or caused property damage
- The reckless acts were intentional, such as vehicular assault
Law enforcement will consider these variables when determining whether to charge an aggressive driver with a traffic violation or crime. Regardless of
How to Report Aggressive Driving in San Antonio
The Texas Department of Insurance says you can report aggressive drivers by calling 311. Include as much information as you can about the driver and the vehicle as possible, including:
- The driver’s description
- The vehicle’s description
- The exact location
- License plate number
- Direction of travel
If you feel threatened, call 911. Do not pull over. Instead, continue to drive to a public place like a police station.
Tips to Avoid Aggressive Driving in San Antonio
Since aggressive driving can lead to criminal penalties, motorists should do everything possible to avoid these behaviors. Consider following these tips for avoiding aggressive driving:
- Remain calm at all times, even if another motorist cuts you off or operates their vehicle in a careless manner.
- Always leave early for work, school, and other engagements, and plan for traffic delays.
- Remember that being late for an engagement is always preferable to being in a crash.
- Come to a complete stop at stop signs and red lights, and slow down when approaching yellow lights (don’t try to “beat” the light).
- Obey the posted speed limit.
- Avoid tailgating other motorists.
- Be courteous to other motorists.
- Stay out of the left lane on highways unless you are passing other vehicles.
- Resist the urge to get revenge on motorists who make driving errors or wrong you in some way.
- Don’t shout obscenities, make rude hand signs, or provoke other drivers.
Recognize the signs of aggressive driving, such as making gestures or erratic driving maneuvers. If you are driving near an aggressive driver, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and theirs in case they cause an accident. If you think you are being targeted by an angry driver, avoid making eye contact with the motorist. If another motorist has made threats against you and you believe you are in imminent danger, call 911.
Legal Consequences of Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving can have significant legal consequences. While some types of aggressive driving can lead to simple fines or traffic citations, others can lead to criminal charges.
Per Texas Transportation Code Section 545.401, motorists can be charged with the traffic offense of reckless driving if they operate their vehicle in a manner that demonstrates a “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”
Reckless driving is a misdemeanor and can lead to significant penalties, including jail time, fines, or both. If a motorist is found to be driving recklessly while under the influence of alcohol or drugs or while driving with a suspended license, they may face steeper penalties. The penalties may also be more severe if the motorist caused someone to become seriously injured or has past criminal convictions.
Beyond the criminal consequences of a reckless driving conviction, an aggressive driver who causes a collision can be held civilly liable by anyone they hurt as a result of their road rage. If they are found responsible, they may have to pay the injured party for their medical bills, damaged property, lost wages, and other losses.
Compensation After an Aggressive Driving Accident
If you were hurt in an accident caused by an aggressive driver, you should not have to pay for the consequences. At the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover, we can help you recover compensation for losses stemming from an aggressive driving accident, including:
- Medical costs and rehabilitative care
- Lost earnings if you missed time at work while healing
- Reduced future income if you suffer a permanently disabling condition
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
Depending on the aggressive driver’s behavior, you could also be entitled to seek punitive damages, which are meant to punish the other party for their behavior. Juries rarely award punitive damages, but if you can demonstrate that the motorist willfully disregarded your safety, you may be able to recover them.
Contact a San Antonio Car Accident Attorney
Were you injured due to an aggressive driver’s negligence or misconduct? Contact a San Antonio car crash lawyer at the Law Offices of Troy A. Brookover today for a free consultation to get started on your claim.