Road Rage Causes Accident Outside VA Hospital

A chaotic scene awaited police officers as they responded to an accident outside of the Audie Murphy VA Hospital. A woman had been struck by a pickup truck leaving the parking lot. Witnesses told police that the accident was likely caused by road rage. They explained that the driver was apparently upset about a cancelled appointment. After retrieving his truck from the valet, he angrily sped away, swerving into the pedestrian walkway and hitting the woman. The truck continued on until it struck a tree. The woman was transported to South Texas Medical Center, while the driver was unhurt.

Police believe the motor vehicle accident was a result of road rage; an extreme act of aggression by someone behind the wheel. An angry reaction to stressful driving conditions, road rage is more than just verbal sparring or obscene gestures, it can escalate into physical violence and lead to severe accidents.

According to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 90 percent of drivers experience some type of road rage each year. It found that tailgating was the most common form of road rage, followed by headlight flashing and using obscene gestures. Drivers also admitted to obstructing other cars (in parking lot disputes), while a few complained of actual physical violence.

Road rage may be caused through simple misunderstandings between drivers, such as not seeing a turn signal, not knowing about a parking spot, or just a momentary error in judgment. It may also be triggered by a perceived assault on personal space. Drivers believe that their cars (and certain space outside the vehicle) are personal domain. When another driver invades that space by cutting in, taking a visible parking space, or nearly hitting the car, this commonly brings about an angry response.

The most common factor in road rage incidents is a driver’s mood. If he or she is having a bad day, chances are that a driver’s benign mistake will trigger an angry rebuke. As such, the best way to avoid road rage is to calm down and drive courteously. If someone does not extend the same consideration on the road, avoid the urge to take immediate revenge.

If it appears someone is exhibiting road rage to you, the best step to take is to remain calm. Try to remove yourself from their area by safely changing lanes, allowing them to go in front of you or pass you and not responding to verbal or obscene gestures. Just because someone is having a bad day and wants to take it out on you by cussing or making an obscene gesture does not mean you need to ruin your day by getting into a wreck or physical confrontation. LET IT GO! Let them move on down the road and continue with your normal travel.

If you are harmed in an accident caused by road rage, an experienced attorney can advise you of your rights and options.