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The criminal traffic offense that can endanger your life

You may have already had this experience at least once in your life. You honked your horn or accidentally cut someone off, and the other person reacted aggressively. Maybe the other driver flipped you off, began tailgating you or swerved into traffic to cut you off in retaliation.

Whatever the situation was, it was probably frightening and made you glad you survived the incident. Unfortunately, for many California drivers, aggressive driving has become an unavoidable part of life.

Can aggressive driving cause a serious auto accident that injures or kills people? Absolutely. However, it is important to understand that road rage and aggressive driving are not the same thing. One is a traffic citation, while the other is a criminal act.

Aggressive driving may be defined by the following:

  • Following other vehicles too closely
  • Speeding, cutting others off or swerving between lanes
  • Honking, yelling and using rude gestures

When an angry driver crosses the line and attempts to cause another driver harm, this is known as road rage. It is a criminal offense, because the driver is making a deliberate effort to harm his or her target. Someone who is attempting to hurt you may try to ram you, run you off the road or use a weapon against you. He or she may also try to get you to leave your car to instigate a physical altercation.

It is believed that aggressive driving factors into 66 percent of all traffic fatalities. The numbers on road rage are also frightening. Over a seven-year period, road rage was considered responsible for 12,610 injuries and 218 murders.

If you find yourself the target of an out-of-control driver, it is best to get to a police or fire station if possible. Seeking out a well-lit parking lot with plenty of people around is a good second choice, since the other driver may be discouraged from attacking you by potential witnesses. Avoid driving home, since you do not want your attacker knowing where you live. If another driver deliberately harmed you, he or she may be held criminally as well as civilly liable.

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