There is perhaps no other incident quite like road rage in which an everyday ordinary person with no history of violent behavior can suddenly get arrested for a felony.
Perhaps it's because people are emboldened when they encase themselves in their cars that manners are thrown out and tempers are escalated.
Regardless of the reason, here are three reasons to keep your road rage in check, as your actions can get you arrested:
- Assault. You've heard or seen this scenario before: A car cut someone off, and the victim of the cut-off acts as if his manhood and everything about him has been questioned. So the victim of the cut-off tailgates the other vehicle until they both stop and a standoff ensues. Often a weapon will be involved -- typically whatever is within reach, as recent road-rage cases involving pepper spray, baseball bats, and guns have shown.
- Assault with a Deadly Weapon. It's not just guns that can get you in trouble. Don't look now, but you're driving a potentially deadly weapon every time you get behind the wheel of your car. That's why so many suspects in road rage cases get charged with assault with a deadly weapon when they try to run over someone or ram their car into the other person's vehicle.
- Harassment. The peaceful way to resolve a traffic incident is not to tailgate, wave a gun or finger menacingly, or shout obscenities at the other driver. This behavior can technically be considered distracted driving. In addition, this behavior may be considered illegal harassment depending on how far you take your shouting and gesturing.
There's something about the anonymity and protective cocoon of a car that leads otherwise civil people to flip the bird at other civil people. The next time you are confronted with an angry driver or are angered by a bad driver, just remember that road rage isn't worth an arrest. Try to turn the other cheek and even apologize, if that will defuse the situation. Driving is not a time to test your manhood.
- Aggressive Driving: How to Avoid Being a Victim of Road Rage (FindLaw's KnowledgeBase)
- Pa. Girl Sues Dad for Causing Road-Rage Shooting (FindLaw's Injured)
- Albert Haynesworth Road Rage Leads to Assault Charge (FindLaw's Tarnished Twenty)