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How can I protect myself during a road rage attack?

You are just sitting at a red light in heavy traffic, minding your own business, when it happens. The driver of the vehicle behind you begins laying on his horn and gunning his engine. A glance at his angry gestures in the rearview mirror confirms that you are the target of the other driver, but you have no idea why he is so upset. Did you accidentally cut him off? Is he angry that traffic isn’t moving fast enough and taking it out on you? Whatever the cause, being the target of an angry driver can be terrifying for Arizonans.

Road rage is becoming a more serious problem in Arizona, as well. According to ABC 15 Arizona, authorities say there has been an increase in road rage cases across the state. As you may presume, this could be due to the rapidly rising population and increasingly congested traffic. It can be easy for many drivers to lose their patience behind the wheel and, in some cases, to completely snap.

To understand the risks you could face from an out-of-control driver, you first need to know the difference between road rage and aggressive driving. Aggressive driving, according to the American Safety Council, consists of numerous driving behaviors that can be dangerous but are not necessarily an act of retaliation or assault. These include tailgating, speeding and cutting others off. Road rage occurs when a driver decides to cause physical harm to another. Since many people across the country suffer serious or even fatal injuries in road rage incidents, road rage is a criminal offense.

If another driver is chasing you, trying to run you off the road or trying to corner you, you may protect yourself in the following ways:

  • Keep calm and drive to the nearest police station, fire station or well-populated parking area, where the thought of witnesses may frighten off an attacker.
  • Never drive home and alert your attacker to your address.
  • If you are trapped and unable to get away, lock your doors and don’t get out to speak with the other driver.
  • Use your cellphone to call 911.

If an angry driver harms you, the law could hold him or her financially responsible for your injuries, as well as charging the driver with a crime.

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