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Houston Road Rage

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Is Road Rage A Criminal Offence? 

 

Road Rage is defined as a behavior that is either aggressive or violent. It may include hitting another auto with your car, running another automobile off the road, encouraging passengers to fight with another driver, engaging in a physical confrontation with another driver or using any weapon to harm other vehicles or drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association explains road rage as, “An assault with a motor vehicle or dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of another motor vehicle, or an assault precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway.”

Road rage is a severe cause of concern. It impairs the driver’s ability to think clearly and can even result in acts of violence.

Avoid Danger

No matter how much the circumstances compel you but road rage should be avoided at all times. Even a gesture can be the spark and ignite a more dangerous incident. If a highway confrontation escalates, you might also face criminal charges. The difference between a temporary emotional or frustrated behavior and a permanent criminal record lies in how well you handle those feelings of anger or frustration.

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You can avoid danger by driving cautiously. Avoid any such situation that may provoke another motorist.

  • Don’t tailgate or flash your lights at other drivers
  • User your horn sparingly
  • If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, give them room and let them pass
  • Do not engage in hateful interactions
  • Do not cut off people, leave the room when you are moving from one lane to another

What if you encounter an angry driver, it is always advised not to make matters worse by triggering a confrontation.

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Don’t make an inappropriate hand or facial gestures
  • If concerned for your safety call 911
  • Steer clear and give angry drivers plenty of room

Avoiding road rage incidents can be as simple as controlling your emotions behind the wheel. Remember that driving is not a race and it is never about winning. Tailgating or speeding will not save time for you and are not worth the risk of car accident or injury. Stay calm, keep a positive attitude and try not to lose control. Losing control of emotions can be dangerous. If necessary, do take assistance from anger management professional.

You should always report road rage incidences for public safety even though you are not involved in them. Give a call to 911 or your local police about any erratic or dangerous driver you might have seen. As in most of the cases, incidents of road rage are preceded by aggressive driving.

Houston road rage

Houston has displaced New York as this city is filled with least courteous drivers, according to the AutoVantage’s annual “Driver’s Seat Road Rage Survey”. Houston has moved up seven spots since the last survey in 2009. When compared to other drivers of different cities, the survey participants in Houston are:

  • Most likely to see another driver cutting them off and most likely to admit performing this behavior
  • Most likely to accept talking on their phones while driving
  • Most likely to see someone else slam on their brakes

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) defines the behavior of road rage as:

  • Running red lights and stop signals
  • Speeding, weaving or tailgating
  • Inappropriate physical or facial gestures
  • Passing other drivers on the right side of a vehicle

Is road rage a criminal offense?

The term road rage is commonly witnessed within various degrees; the laws of Texas do not directly name “Road Rage” as an actual offense. Texas laws, however, consider aggressive driving actions as moving violations. Generally, incidents of road rage also involve a moving violation of some kind, such as cutting off another vehicle or tailgating the car. In such a case your aggressive behavior will earn you the ticket.

Most of the moving violations warrant a $200 fine under the Texas Laws. Jail time could also be mandated, depending on the driver’s history and the nature of the breach. There are various other crimes such as reckless driving (punishable up to 30 days in jail or a $200 fine); deadly misconduct; vehicular manslaughter (which is a second-degree felony) or assault and battery for which a road rage aggressor may be found guilty.

 

Texas transportation code rear-end collision:

The statutes require that drivers should maintain a safe following distance from the vehicles in front of them. The driver must keep a manageable distance from the car ahead of him/her so the driver who is behind him/her can stop in time without swerving into another lane, car or an object to avoid a collision. 

 

Texas case law holds that a defendant who rear-ended another driver is NOT as a matter of law liable. Hence the jury still has to determine if the act was negligent or unreasonable to find liability.

If a law enforcement officer observes an act of road rage or another aggressive behavior, he/she can pull you over and charge you with a moving violation or criminal act (depending on the incident).

How to report road rage in Texas?

You should contact the police departments and the sheriff’s office in Texas directly to report a road rage incident.

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