Road rage can be relatively minor in some drivers, but for others it can lead to serious hazards and accidents and could be a sign of an underlying mental health condition. When drivers act on their road rage, there are also legal consequences for their actions.
Tips to Reduce Road Rage
Generally, it’s possible to distinguish between two types of road rage. One is a fairly common emotional reaction to annoyances on the roadways; drivers may not always react in an aggressive manner but could still benefit from reducing their anger on the road. The other is a serious outburst of anger that may lead the driver to react dangerously and put him- or herself and others at risk.
Drivers can make many small changes to reduce stress on the roads and avoid becoming angry:
- Get enough sleep before your commute
- Plan ahead so you don’t feel rushed
- Listen to calm music
- Try not to drive when you are already angry
- Avoid hostility when you become annoyed
Most people can benefit by using these techniques to remain calm on the roadways. Angry driving contributes to accidents as well.
Therapy and Treatment for Road Rage
For some, road rage is a very serious problem. If drivers become violent, overly aggressive, or respond disproportionately to roadway stress, they may suffer from Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED).
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) officially recognizes Intermittent Explosive Disorder as a treatable mental health condition. Anger outbursts may also be associated with other mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder. If road rage is a serious problem, drivers should seek professional mental health treatment.
According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment options for Intermittent Explosive Disorder might include:
- Psychotherapy – this can be individual or group counseling sessions to discuss the issues related to IED and road rage;
- Cognitive behavior therapy – this involves identifying triggers that lead to anger and aggression so the patient can manage the anger react in a more controlled manner; and
- Medications – this might include antidepressants or anti-anxiety medicines.
Legal Ramifications of Aggressive Driving
Road rage that leads to aggressive driving can ultimately lead to traffic citations, not to mention serious car accidents.
According to Indiana Code Section 9-21-8-55(b), a person commits aggressive driving when during a single incident they do three or more of the following:
- Follow too closely
- Operate the vehicle unsafely
- Overtake another vehicle on the right by driving off the road
- Stop or slow down unsafely
- Unnecessarily honk the horn
- Fail to yield
- Fail to obey traffic control signals
- Flash the vehicle’s headlights
Aggressive driving is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by not more than one year in jail and a $5,000 fine. Civil actions can also be pursued after a road rage accident. Road rage qualifies as negligence, or failing to use reasonable care to prevent harm to others. If a driver is injured from another driver’s road rage, he or she can file a personal injury claim.
Hensley Legal Group helps Indiana drivers injured by others’ negligent or reckless actions recover compensation for their damages. Contact our office to set up your consultation with an attorney and get started on your claim today.