Road Rage on the Rise in Georgia: How to Avoid Unnecessary Tragedy


May 15, 2011

The highways of Georgia have been less than safe recently with some appalling recent instances of road rage.

In Dekalb County, a four-year-old boy was shot while traveling in the back seat of his mother's car. This tragedy is believed to have been a product of road rage. The mother had cut off a white SUV, and the SUV began tailgating her car. When she pulled over to let them pass, the driver shot at her car with a handgun and hit her son, who was in a car seat in the back. The driver is still at large.

In another incident that took place in Gwinnett County, a 21-year-old driver tried to run another car off the road on Georgia 20 on Wednesday morning. Ironically, he picked on the wrong person. The other driver was Deputy Paul Frederick of Gwinnett County Sheriff's Office. The 21-year-old swerved and tried to hit the deputy's car three times. The deputy, who was commuting to work, tried to avoid the situation by slowing down and stopping, but the driver persisted. The deputy called it into the police who showed up and arrested the driver. With all of the risks associated with serious motor vehicle accidents on Georgia highways, most people never consider the driving risk associated with an act of road rage violence. At Montlick and Associates, Attorneys at Law, we represent those who suffer serious injury or wrongful death in auto accident road rage incidents throughout the Atlanta area and all of Georgia.

Road rage in Georgia has increased in recent years. As a driver, it is important to understand what road rage looks like and how to avoid confrontations with other drivers if at all possible. There are many examples of road rage behavior. Typically, road rage violence is triggered by aggressive driving practices that elicit a violent response from other drivers. Common examples of aggressive driving practices that may lead to a violent road rage response include the following:

  • Tailgating
  • Passing on the right
  • Cutting drivers off
  • Weaving in and out of traffic - "threading the needle"
  • Slamming brakes on tailgaters - "the brake job"
  • Shining high beams on drivers who cut you off
  • Giving other drivers obscene gestures
  • Not allowing other drivers to merge
  • Running red lights
  • Passing slow drivers and cutting sharply in front of them -"the shave"
  • Blocking and boxing in drivers who want to pass

Here are some tips on how to avoid being involved in a road rage incident:

  • If someone starts tailgating you, you should just let it go. It is a good idea to pull over if you can and just let them pass or do your best to ignore it. It is never safe to get angry and engage them.
  • You should use your turn signals so other drivers know your intentions.
  • When you change lanes, you should not cut off other drivers. If someone cuts you off, you should back up and give the driver room.
  • Drivers should always obey the speed limit. If you want to go slower, it is advisable to get in the right lane.
  • It is never safe to tailgate. You should allow plenty of room between vehicles.
  • You should avoid making obscene gestures at other drivers. Other drivers may overreact and retaliate violently.
  • If a hostile driver confronts you, then you should just get as far away from them as possible.
  • If you think you are in danger, then call the police.
  • If you screw up, smile and wave a hand at the other driver.
  • You should always be courteous and kind to other drivers.

Sometimes it is difficult to be kind in the face of other people's anger, but when confronted with hostile and angry drivers, it is hard to know how a driver will react to a driving practice viewed as discourteous. It is never worth being seriously injured or killed because you engaged the wrong person who has an extreme and violent reaction because you delayed their arrival at a destination by five minutes. It is just not worth the risk.

Under Georgia law, a person who is the victim of an act of violence and suffers injury or the loss of a loved one can seek damages for the reckless or intentional conduct that caused the injury. These damages may include all those recovered in a typical auto accident, such as lost wages, pain and suffering, medical costs, loss of future income, loss of services and companionship of a spouse. The survivors of someone who is killed can also recover wrongful death damages for the full value of the life of the deceased.

Sometimes it is possible in road rage cases to also recover punitive damages. These damages are awarded to punish, penalize and deter the wrongdoer from future similar conduct. A driver can be punished if his actions showed willful misconduct or a conscious indifference to the safety of others. In Georgia, road rage cases can rise to this level quite often. When punitive damages are awarded, they often exceed all other forms of damages combined.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a violent road rage attack or any type of accident, the compassionate Georgia road rage auto accident lawyers at Montlick and Associates will fight hard to get you the compensation you deserve. We have been helping Georgia residents seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle related incidents, including road rage attacks, for over 27 years. We urge you to call Montlick & Associates today to learn how we can help. We are available to assist clients throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Dalton, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. Call us today for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333), or visit us on the web at www.montlick.com. No matter where you are in Georgia, we are just a phone call away and we will even come to you.

Category: Auto Accidents

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.