Are you a road rage victim? Dial 9-1-1

When should you call?

Many drivers have been the victims of sudden bouts of road rage. They've been cut off, cursed at, on the receiving end of aggressive gestures including "the bird." Most of these incidents are instantaneous. But some road rage events can continue for miles. Are you being chased? Tailgated? Raced? Threatened, either with a finger-pistol or a real weapon? Is the other driver acting erratic behind the wheel? If the rage continues, dial 9-1-1. Protecting your life is what a cell phone is for.

Your call will be recorded, including all your interactions with law enforcement, their interactions with the person who is harassing or pursuing you. So tell the dispatcher what is being done to you, as it occurs. The police can track your phone; they will know where you are. If there is an accident with injuries, the 9-1-1 tapes can be obtained and used as evidence. Road rage is on the rise, and the police can and do take it seriously.

Whether it's yelling, honking or making obscene gestures, most drivers have probably been the victims of or have engaged in behaviors that could be described as road rage. However, the true extent of the problem was only recently revealed by a study from the AAA Foundation, which found approximately eight out of ten drivers in the country admit to engaging in aggressive driving in the past year, according to the Connecticut Post. Furthermore, the study reveals that drivers in the Northeast, including Connecticut, are the most likely in the country to engage in aggressive driving behaviors.

A road rage epidemic?

Road rage, it seems, is incredibly common. The study found that 80 percent of Americans say they have engaged in angry or aggressive acts while behind the wheel within the past year. Purposefully tailgating another driver, yelling at another motorist, and honking aggressively were the three most common types of road rage. However, the report found that seven percent of drivers also engaged in acts of extreme road rage, such as ramming another vehicle on purpose or exiting a vehicle in order to confront another motorist.

The situation is particularly bad in the Northeast, a region that includes Connecticut. Northeast drivers have the highest rates of aggressive driving in the country, the study notes. According to the Stratford Star, Northeast drivers are 30 percent more likely to honk, yell, or make angry gestures while driving than are motorists in the rest of the country.

Controlling aggressive driving

Because aggressive driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents, the AAA Foundation has several suggestions for drivers to help them avoid becoming the victims of road rage. First, the AAA says drivers should strive to be considerate of other motorists, including by being attentive, obeying the rules of the road, and not cutting off other drivers.

If another driver does act aggressively, the best thing to do is to try to ignore the situation in order to keep things from escalating. Engaging an enraged driver, especially by making eye contact or making rude gestures, will only help fuel a dangerous situation. If the other driver continues to act aggressively and dangerously, then 911 should be contacted.

Personal injury law

Dealing with aggressive drivers is something motorists throughout Connecticut have to do quite often. Aggressive driving is extremely dangerous and reckless and it can easily lead to a serious car accident. For those who have been hurt in an accident, it is important to contact your personal injury attorney right away. While an attorney cannot undo the pain and trauma caused by an accident, he or she can help accident victims make sense of their legal options, take steps to preserve electronic evidence that may only be available for a short time, and potentially assist the victim to pursue financial compensation.