Road rage in Florida is both widespread and dangerous. In 2021, there were 728 road rage incidents involving guns nationwide. 62% of these events caused injury or death.
Some of these shocking Florida incidents make international news every year. For example, there was one crime in which a man pulled out a gun after another driver threatened him and it became news as far away as the U.K. He also used metallic knuckles, which only escalated the situation.
According to Time Magazine, Florida is also one of the worst states in the nation regarding road rage. Even the FDOT has prioritized both speeding and aggressive driving as two of the focal points for their Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Thus, falling victim to road rage in Florida is, unfortunately, a common occurrence. Though no official United States policy outlaws road rage, a victim can take an aggressor to court if they caused damages.
How to Identify Road Rage
Common signs of road rage include:
- Speeding and tailgating
- Yelling obscenities
- Gesturing wildly or inappropriately
- Flashing headlights or braking suddenly, without cause
- Racing and weaving through traffic
If you notice a driver exhibiting these behaviors, they are driving aggressively. Rather than reciprocating these behaviors, calm yourself down. Participating in aggressive driving can end in an accident or physical violence.
Tips on How to Avoid Road Rage Events
The most obvious tip to avoid road rage incidents is to give aggressive drivers plenty of space. Allow them to pass without engaging or making eye contact so that you do not further feed their behavior. Many violent incidents occur because both drivers stop to argue.
If it appears that someone has started to follow you after exhibiting signs of violence, call 911. Do not get out of the car. If you make the wrong decision during one of these volatile situations, you could get into legal trouble.
What to Do After Road Rage Incident
If you have experienced aggravated assault due to a road rage incident, you should seek legal help. When dealing with the incident itself, however, you should:
- Seek medical attention (if needed).
- Document the scene and event. If you remember to pull out your phone during the incident, record what happens. Otherwise, take photos of any possible evidence.
- Gather records of the event. Collect the contact information of witnesses, medical records, police reports, etc.
- Contact a personal injury attorney.
By contacting a personal injury lawyer early in your case, you can receive the best legal options possible. Your car accident lawyer can direct you on dealing with certain paperwork aspects, such as speaking to insurance companies. They can also advise you on how to avoid making incriminating statements.
Filing a Car Accident Claim
If the damages to your car or routine were substantial, you can file a car accident claim financial restitution. Common damages related to car accidents include:
- Lost wages: If you or a loved one took time off work due to injuries sustained in a car accident, you may be entitled to claim the wages that you would have earned during the time you missed.
- Medical expenses: If you sustained injuries that required medical attention at the fault of another party, you can likely claim these damages.
- Damaged property: If the offending party damaged your car or other property, you may pursue compensation.
- Pain and suffering: In some cases, you can receive compensation due to the trauma of an incident. This is situation-specific, your lawyer can help you with this.
FAQs About Road Rage in Florida
Is Road Rage More Common in Florida than in Other States?
Time Magazine names Florida the worst state for aggressive driving. The agency that performed this study compiled data from DUIs, driving tickets, people with car insurance, and deaths related to traffic accidents to determine the states with the worst driving records.
What Demographic Is Most Susceptible to Road Rage?
Male drivers 19 years old and younger are the most likely to drive aggressively. However, anyone can express road rage, such as one middle-aged woman from Ocala who pinned another driver against his car with her own.
Are There Florida Laws Banning Road Rage?
There are no explicit laws against road rage in Florida. However, the law may consider swerving to throw off another driver to be “assault with a deadly weapon.” Harassment and physical violence can also result in legal action if reported to the police.
Florida also passed a law in 2013 to discourage people from reckless driving. This law allows officers to give a three-point moving violation and a $60 fine to anyone driving at least ten mph below the speed limit in the far-left lane of a highway.
Can the Police Arrest You for Road Rage?
Though the police cannot arrest you for road rage itself, they can arrest you for actions caused by road rage in Florida. As discussed in the previous section, because harassment and violence are against the law, the police can arrest you on these grounds.
Has Road Rage Gotten Worse Since the Pandemic?
Various videos and reports show that incidents of road rage in Florida (and nationwide) have doubled. Healthcare experts attribute the sharp increase in aggressive driving to stress caused by the pandemic, according to a study performed in 2021.
Looking for a Road Rage Lawyer in Ocala, Florida?
If you are a victim of road rage in Florida, seek help from an attorney. Pam Olsen from Olsen Law Firm, can help. She has practiced law since 1992 and is passionate about defending victims of personal injury. She even has a Master’s degree in mental health counseling, so she connects with her clients on a personal level. Call her at (352) 671-9777 or complete this form and she’ll be in touch with you right away.