Indiana is one of eleven states that specifically target aggressive driving in an effort to reduce traffic accidents and fatalities. Under Indiana law, aggressive driving is a Class A misdemeanor, which may be punished by up to one year in jail and a $5,000 fine.
A driver may be charged with aggressive driving if he commits three or more of these infractions during a single driving event:
- Following a vehicle too closely
- Operating a vehicle unsafely
- Overtaking another vehicle on the right side by driving off the roadway
- Stopping or slowing a vehicle unsafely
- Sounding the horn unnecessarily
- Failing to yield
- Failing to obey a traffic control device
- Driving at an unsafe speed
- Flashing the vehicle’s headlights repeatedly
Imagine that another driver improperly fails to yield the right of way to you. You are angry. To show your displeasure, you tailgate the other driver, sound your horn excessively, and flash your lights at him. Under Indiana law, you have engaged in aggressive driving—even though the other driver should have yielded to you. A driver may be charged with this offense if aggressive driving is used to harass or intimidate someone in another vehicle.
If aggressive driving occurs in a highway work zone, the driver may be charged with a felony. If a worker is injured by the driver, a Class D felony may be charged. A Class C felony may be charged if a worker is killed in a work zone. A Class D felony may also be charged if the offending driver had a previous motor vehicle operation conviction in the last five years.
If you have been injured by an aggressive driver, you may be able to recover damages. If the driver was convicted of aggressive driving, you have an easier case. The driver’s conviction may be considered negligence per se, which means that the driver is automatically deemed negligent for having violated the law.
Road rage is a dangerous behavior that often occurs when a driver becomes frustrated or impatient and takes their anger out by driving aggressively without consideration for other vehicles on the road. Every driver that gets behind the wheel of their vehicle assumes a duty of care, which is a legal obligation to drive in a way that is in the best interest of others around them. Those who are driving with road rage are a danger to everyone around them and are typically violating this duty of care.
What Are Some Signs of Road Rage?
If you have been injured in a car accident, you might be wondering if road rage was the cause of that accident. Some of the more common signs of road rage include but are not limited to:
- Tailgating – A driver who is tailgating is one of the most recognizable and dangerous signs of road rage. Drivers with road rage will often use tailgating as a sign of aggression against other drivers.
- Speeding – This is one of the most common signs of road rage. Speeding above the legal limit and swerving in and out of lanes to move ahead of traffic often indicate that a driver is displaying signs of road rage.
- Honking – Honking a horn is one of the easiest ways for a driver with road rage to express their anger. It might appear that a driver is needlessly honking their horn if they are stuck in traffic, and this is often the beginning of aggressive behavior.
- Flashing their lights – One sign of aggressive driving is flashing lights at other cars. This behavior is dangerous for a variety of reasons and can result in serious accidents.
- Making physical gestures – Those drivers who are displaying signs of road rage will often be seen making angry gestures in their vehicle, which is one of the signs of road rage.
- Yelling – Drivers who are displaying behaviors of road rage will often yell at the other drivers around them. This can be extremely distracting and even offensive in some situations.
- Physically attacking – In some extreme cases, a driver will become so agitated that they provoke physical violence when stopped in traffic.
Learn More About How a Car Accident Attorney Can Help
Car accidents that have been caused by Aggressive driving and road rage can be both terrifying and confusing. When you consider that the accident might have been prevented if the other driver had simply controlled their anger and been aware of the danger they were causing to those around them, the situation becomes even more frustrating.
If you believe that the driver who caused your car accident displayed any of these behaviors, it is advisable to speak with a car accident lawyer in Indiana as soon as possible.