The Consequences of Road Rage

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A mom giving her son a driving lesson dies when someone allegedly shoots her in a road rage incident. The person who shot her also hit her vehicle and caused a car accident. The suspect allegedly left the scene but was eventually apprehended. While the mom got medical attention, she did not survive.
In another case, two people allegedly shot a 13-year-old boy in a road rage incident. Those two suspects allegedly ran and remained at large as of this writing.
Many people go over the top when they get upset on the road, even if the incident seems to be their fault. Is road rage really worth a life?


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What Is Road Rage?

Mirriam Webster defines road rage as “a motorist’s uncontrolled anger that is usually provoked by another motorist’s irritating act and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior.” Road rage could be something as minor as shouting at someone when they can’t hear you or, as in the news stories above, shooting someone and even taking their life.
Actions that are considered road rage behavior include speeding, running stop signs and stop lights, weaving in and out of traffic, not yielding the right-of-way, and tailgating. Situations that often cause road rage behavior include:

  • Traffic delays and traffic jams;
  • Running late;
  • No regard for others;
  • The behavior is habitual; and
  • The accused has no regard for the law.

As pointed out in the above situations, road rage can cause catastrophic injuries and even death, yet people continue this destructive behavior. Instead of leaving early enough to get somewhere on time, they leave too late and are late to work, an appointment, or even just a fun time shopping or going on a date. Irritation sets in if someone is driving too slowly, someone is not going “fast enough” on the highway (even if that person is going the speed limit), or even because someone slows down to make a turn.

Types of Road Rage Accidents

Speeding and cutting in and out of traffic often cause accidents, and these behaviors are two of the more common road rage behaviors. Roads have posted speed limits because they tested for those safe speeds. If a highway has a 75 mph speed limit that drops to 55 mph in a specific area, it is because the Department of Transportation deemed it dangerous to go faster than 55 mph on that stretch of highway.
Going 85 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone is just as bad, if not worse, than going 65 miles per hour in a 55 mile per hour zone, especially if you are already upset. Not only is it easier to lose control of your vehicle at higher speeds, but your aggression makes you react slower to vehicles and circumstances around you.
Speeding can cause:

  • Rear-end accidents
  • Side-swipe accidents
  • Roll-overs if the speed is too fast for a curve
  • Head-on crashes with other vehicles and stationary objects

Cutting in and out of traffic is also dangerous. People around you don’t know what you are going to do, especially if you are not using your turn signal. Jerky movements on the steering wheel as you dodge in between other vehicles could cause you to wreck by side-swiping someone, hitting another vehicle’s front with your vehicle’s rear if you are merging in too close, or even a roll-over wreck.
Running stop signs and stop lights, and not yielding to traffic, can cause T-bone accidents, roll-overs, and side-swipes.

Road Rage Accident Injuries

Any accident can result in injuries, but road rage accidents usually cause more severe accidents (and thus injuries) because of the aggressive driving involved. The type of vehicle you are driving when someone hits you in a road rage fit also determines the extent of your injuries. If you are driving a large truck and someone in a compact car causes a road-rage wreck, you might suffer minor injuries. However, if you are driving a motorcycle or are walking along a sidewalk and someone hits you in a road rage fit, you could suffer catastrophic injuries or even death.

  • Death: Even an accident that doesn’t look “bad” can cause death if the impact throws your body in such a way that you injure a critical organ or a seemingly minor injury causes internal bleeding that is left alone.
  • Traumatic brain injury: TBI comes in several different forms. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury. Whiplash may cause a TBI because, like in a concussion, your brain moves back and forth quickly and hits the skull as it moves. Traumatic brain injuries might happen if a piece of bone from a crushed skull pierces the brain, if something else pierces the brain—such as a piece of metal, wood, or a bullet, or if not enough oxygen gets to the brain for several minutes.
  • Neck, shoulder and back injuries: These types of injuries often require physical therapy or surgery to repair, depending on the extent of the damage. Minor damage to the spine may also cause neurological problems, which may last for months or years.
  • Fractures: A standard fracture is when the bone doesn’t break the skin. A compound fracture is when the broken bone breaks through the skin. Both are very painful and could take up to six to eight weeks to heal. However, a compound fracture has the added complication of infection because of the open wound.
  • Strains, sprains, and soft tissue injuries: While these might not seem serious at first, always have a medical professional check them out. You might think something is a painful strain, but you could suffer from a torn muscle that might require surgery.
  • Minor cuts, scrapes, and bruises: These minor injuries could become serious if cuts and scrapes become infected. Even if you believe that you don’t have more injuries, you should have a medical professional check you out, as serious injuries, including whiplash, often appear hours or even days later.

If someone hit you in a road rage accident, a free consultation with a Milwaukee car accident lawyer can make sure you understand how to proceed.

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