Readers probably recall hearing back in the 1990s about ‘road rage,’ the new term for aggressive driving. An increasing trend of reckless, aggressive driving in the U.S. caused Georgia and other states to pass laws targeting ‘road rage.’
Since those days, the issue has faded from headlines. Aggressive driving is of course still common across Georgia; who doesn’t recall another driver flashing their lights at them, ‘flipping them the bird,’ or tailgating? Most of these incidents do not escalate beyond words and gestures, but things have been known to get out of hand.
Sometimes ‘road rage’ can even lead to the use of weapons, as happened last month in Columbus, Georgia. Three men were involved in a two-vehicle road rage incident that started at approximately 8 p.m. on JR Allen Parkway near at the state line. The men started shouting at each other, tailgating and giving hand gestures. Family met the two cars at a gas station ahead and shots were fired, injuring two people.
Georgia Aggressive Driving Laws
The law against aggressive driving in Georgia makes it a six-point penalty, with a possible license suspension when one accrues 15 points or more in a 24-month period. The aggressive driving law states that a driver commits aggressive driving when he operates a motor vehicle with the intent to harass, annoy, molest, injure or intimidate another person. It is charged as a misdemeanor of ‘a high and aggravated nature.’
The police do not usually charge drivers with aggressive driving in Georgia. Instead, they tend to issue them a citation for the specific violation that stemmed from the aggressive driving, such as reckless driving or speeding. If the illegal conduct gets to the point that the aggressive driver attempts to injure another person with their vehicle, that can be charged in Georgia as aggravated assault.
Avoiding Aggressive Drivers
If you come across an aggressive driver in Georgia, it is important that you not engage with him or her. One never knows what could happen if you make an aggressive driver even more angry than they already are.
Geico.com recommends the following tips to avoid road rage:
- If someone is tailgating you, move over, even if you are traveling well above the speed limit.
- Wave with an ‘I’m sorry’ gesture to try to defuse the aggressive driver.
- Plan ahead. Allow for more time for potential delays in your trip so you do not become an aggressive driver yourself.
- Determine whether you are doing something in your driving that is irritating other drivers. Are you not using turn signals? Going below the speed limit in the left lane? Then adjust your driving accordingly.
- Listen to music you like as you drive to keep you calm.
- Do not use your horn unless necessary.
- Do not make eye contact with aggressive drivers, and give them as much room as you can.
6 Common Reasons For Aggressive Driving
Some of the common reasons for aggressive driving include:
- Fighting over parking spots
- Being cut off
- Not being allowed to pass
- Getting ‘the finger’
- Annoyance at excessive honking
- Being tailgated.
If you are ever in an accident with an aggressive driver and are injured, do not engage in any way with the other driver. Call 911 and stay in your vehicle. After the police arrive and the scene is secure, consider calling a personal injury attorney.