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“Road rage,” a phrase first coined by a news team in Los Angeles and quickly adopted into the American lexicon, signifies an angry driver who uses his vehicle in a way that poses potential danger to other people or property. Perhaps we’ve all witnessed some sort of aggressive driving at least once in our lives, but it’s important that all drivers understand the life-threatening dangers associated with this type of behavior, which serves as a Pandora’s Box of all sorts of unnecessary risks to the general public.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” This behavior can take many forms, including speeding, tailgating, cutting-off, and other disregard for other vehicles or even pedestrians, and when fueled by anger, this behavior is commonly known as “road rage.” If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by an aggressive driver, we at Agruss Law Firm are here for you every step of the way to ensure that your rights are protected and you are fully compensated for your injuries and losses.

While specific aggressive driving behaviors can be violations in and of themselves, combinations of multiple aggressive or reckless behaviors can result in more severe legal consequences. Here is Illinois state law as it applies to reckless driving:

(625 ILCS 5/11-503) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-503)

Sec. 11-503. Reckless driving; aggravated reckless driving.

(a) A person commits reckless driving if he or she:

(1) drives any vehicle with a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property; or disregard for the safety of persons or property; or

(2) knowingly drives a vehicle and uses an incline in a roadway, such as a railroad crossing, bridge approach, or hill, to cause the vehicle to become airborne.

(b) Every person convicted of reckless driving shall be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor, except as provided under subsections (b-1), (c), and (d) of this Section.

(b-1) Except as provided in subsection (d), any person convicted of violating subsection (a), if the violation causes bodily harm to a child or a school crossing guard while the school crossing guard is performing his or her official duties, is guilty of a Class 4 felony.

Some common examples of aggressive driving include speeding, frequent and unnecessary lane-changes, cutting-off other drivers, tailgating, not stopping at stop signs, and running yellow or red lights. Combinations of reckless behaviors are not only more severely punished under Illinois law, but they also exponentially increase the risk of a preventable accident.

Much of our educational material focuses on new drivers, which is deliberate, as road safety experts and legislators alike believe that emotional awareness as an important part of driving should be taught as early as possible and treated with as much regard as the need to check blind spots before switching lanes. Nearly 80% of all drivers consider road rage to be a “serious safety issue,” but, of course, not so many drivers actually refrain from it in all circumstances, as more than half of all vehicle fatalities involve at least one behavior commonly associated with “road rage,” such as speeding or tailgating.

Road rage is a heat-of-the-moment situation, which is exactly why it can have devastating consequences. Drivers who are swept up by emotion, especially anger at another driver, are unfocused and may only be thinking about retribution, and this can lead to an accident in a split second. If you encounter an angry driver or are yourself enraged by another driver, taking yourself out of a logical mindset is among the worst things you can do. Don’t try to get their attention, don’t yell out the window or make obscene gestures, and don’t make any aggressive or reckless maneuvers. Simply keep your distance and focus on the road and all vehicles around you.

Anyone who has been victimized by an aggressive driver should be fully compensated for their injuries and losses and see that justice is served, and our experienced personal injury attorneys will be there for you until the very end.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident caused by an aggressive driver, contact Agruss Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation. We are a Chicago-based personal injury law firm, and helping our clients is about counseling, advocating, and ultimately solving problems. With years of experience successfully representing the people and not the powerful, we will file your claim and take care of the insurance company, medical bills, property damage, and lost income. We will handle your case quickly and advise you every step of the way, and we will not hesitate to go to trial for you. Lastly, our personal injury lawyers are not paid attorney fees unless we win your case. Our no-fee promise is that simple. You have nothing to risk when you hire us – only the opportunity to seek justice.

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