When it comes to driving in Chicago, most motorists tend to believe that their skills are better than average and that they are not part of the problems facing others on the roadways. However, statistically, all drivers in Illinois and elsewhere in the nation make mistakes or poor decisions on occasion, increasing the odds that they will cause a car accident or other traffic incident that may lead to injuries.
A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that anger, aggression, or road rage among drivers is so pervasive that 80 percent of all drivers admitted to having one or more of these attributes while driving within the prior 12 months.
The findings come from a survey that asked drivers about their general and specific habits while operating a motor vehicle on a public roadway. Importantly, many drivers tend to report their own conduct in a light favorable to their actions so these numbers may be lower than the actual experience. Further, as so many drivers find themselves with feelings of frustration, it is a warning sign to the few among us who keep their cool at all times that the motorist next to them may not be doing the same and may engage in aggressive or even damaging conduct as a result.
Of the drivers who responded to the survey, 51 percent admitted to purposefully tailgating within the last year while 45 percent admitted they honked in annoyance or anger. Thirty-three percent of surveyed drivers admitted that they made angry gestures while driving while 12 percent said they cut off another vehicle intentionally. Particularly troubling was the fact that about three percent of those surveyed admitted to bumping or ramming another vehicle on purposes within the prior year. While three percent may sound like a small number, if that percentage holds true for American drivers at large, it means that approximately 5.7 million drivers intentionally struck another vehicle within the last 12 months – simply because they were angry, annoyed, or frustrated.
The traffic conditions in Illinois make road rage a real possibility. Whether you are trying to park in the Loop or commuting on one of our crowded expressways, drivers can understandably get frustrated with the traffic climate in a relatively short amount of time. However, note that acting on your frustrations is not only unwise but is likely illegal. Engaging in dangerous, reckless conduct can lead you to face legal consequences for your actions that may range from a traffic ticket to a criminal charge and even financial liability for any damages you cause.
In the event you are to blame for a road rage car accident, you may be forced to compensate a victim for her medical expenses and loss of a normal life that stems from the collision.
If you find yourself in a less than desirable situation while driving, try to keep a level head and focus on the safety of yourself and others. Resist the urge to tailgate, swerve in and out of lanes or traffic, or cut off other motorists and instead try to be as patient and cautious as possible. Finally, know that if another driver’s actions cause you to be injured, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages and a personal injury attorney can help you realize what options you have for relief.
Prior Blog Entry:
Nearly 300,000 Traffic Accidents Occurred in Illinois in 2014, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, published September 26, 2016.
Nearly 80 Percent of Drivers Express Significant Anger, Aggression or Road Rage, by Tamra Johnson, AAA, published July 14, 2016.