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Road rage or aggressive driving is a real problem in the U.S. and especially in Florida. According to a study performed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2016, nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger / aggression while driving in 2015. In 2019 FOX 13 Tampa Bay reported findings from a GasBuddy study.  This study used data from the GasBuddy Drives feature from 30 metropolitan areas over the course of Nov. 2018 – Feb. 2019. The data showed that three Florida areas came in the top 20 U.S. cities with the most aggressive drivers:

  • Orlando – No. 7
  • Miami /  Fort Lauderdale – No. 17
  • Tampa / St. Petersburg – No. 19

What is Road Rage or “Aggressive Driving”?

The definition of “aggressive driving” as defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) defines it as an individual committing a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property. Examples of aggressive driving or road rage are …

  • Tailgating
  • Improper / erratic lane changing
  • Making angry gestures / yelling
  • Improper turning
  • Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit
  • Blocking another vehicle from changing lanes
  • Bumping / Ramming other vehicles
  • And more…

Road Rage in Tampa Florida

There are many factors which contribute to aggressive driving / road rage, such as traffic delays, running late, anonymity, learned behavior, an emotional driver, etc., but as Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research says “…we must not let out emotions lead to destructive choices” as road rage can have deadly consequences.

According to data from the NHTSA’s Fatal Accident Report System (FARS) from 2003-2007, aggressive driving played a role in 56% of fatal crashes. To combat road rage / aggressive driving, view the following tips for how to avoid getting enraged while driving, how to avoid being a victim of road rage, and what to do if you are a victim of road rage…

How to Avoid Getting Enraged While Driving

  1. Allow plenty of time for your trip to avoid getting stressed out by heavy traffic / traffic delays or needing to rush
  2. Listen to soothing music while you drive
  3. Make sure you are in a comfortable position and that your A/C is set to a comfortable temperature
  4. Remind yourself as you drive that you cannot control traffic
  5. Remind yourself that the other drivers are people too and you do not know what they may be going through – give them a break!
  6. Remember to drive two car lengths behind the driver in front of you
  7. Only use your horn to avoid a dangerous situation, not when you are frustrated
  8. Give your time to cool off/defuse after an emotional crisis before driving
  9. Use your blinker when appropriate and always check blind spots when changing lanes
  10. If driving still frustrates you, ask someone else to drive or use another source of transportation bus / bicycle / taxi / Uber / Lyft.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of Road Rage in Florida

  1. Follow the above tips to help becoming frustrated yourself and escalating an issue
  2. Keep hand gestures positive
  3. Keep your distance from drivers who are driving aggressively
  4. Avoid making eye contact with aggressive drivers
  5. Control your anger, try to be polite regardless of how another driver is acting
  6. Keep your doors locked
  7. Take a defensive driving course

What to Do if You Are a Victim of Road Rage in Tampa

  1. Follow above tips
  2. Don’t stop or try to confront an aggressive driver
  3. Make sure to watch for being followed
  4. Call 911 if an aggressive driver confronts you or follows you
  5. Report aggressive driving to prevent similar future instances and to make your roadways a safer place
    • Gather the aggressive driver’s information – license plate number, vehicle description, what the driver was doing, location of offense (intersections, mile marker, street / highway name), direction the driver was headed
      • Write it down
      • Use a smartphone app like Nexar which can capture video of dangerous driving and notify you when aggressive drivers are nearby
    • Call the police department and provide the information and let them know you want to file an official report

What Florida Law Says About Road Rage / Aggressive Driving

While there are not direct road rage laws, there are other laws that work to protect against aggressive FL drivers.

  • Florida Statute 322.0261 – “Driver’s Improvement Course” – This statue states that a FL driver who pleads no contest (or is convicted) to a traffic offense that causes three crashes within a 36-month period must take a driver’s improvement course in order to keep driving privileges.
  • Florida Statute 316.192 – “Reckless Driving” – This statue protects against reckless driving or the driving of “any vehicle in a willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. This means the person intentionally drove in a manner that was likely to cause damage to persons or property with indifference to the consequences. Depending on the number of prior reckless driving offenses and the amount of property damage or personal injury penalties can include up to 5 years in prison or probation and a $5,000 fine.
  • Florida Statute 782.071 – “Vehicular Homicide” – This statute states that one can be convicted of Vehicular Homicide by “killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to another.” In the state of Florida Vehicular Homicide is a Second Degree Felony with penalties including up to fifteen years in prison, 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine.

Franco Law Group | 215 N Howard Avenue, Suite 101 Tampa, FL 33606

Are you a Road Rage victim in Florida? Our experienced personal injury attorneys at Franco Law Group would be happy to provide you with the highest-quality legal representation. Our lawyers offer individualized attention in order to help get you the compensation that you deserve. Contact Franco Law Group at (813) 873-0180 for a FREE consultation.

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