Driving in Connecticut, it would seem, might soon require more than a driver's license and insurance. Many drivers it appears would do well to get some therapy for anger management. A new study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed 80 percent of drivers express some form of "significant" anger, aggression or outright road rage while driving.
Perhaps the most disturbing finding is the fact that some 8 million drivers in the U.S. admitted to engaging in acts of road rage most would consider extreme. This includes actions like getting out of a vehicle to confront another driver or intentionally slamming into another motorist, pedestrian or bicyclist.
Here's the truth of the matter: Other drivers are annoying. Some drive inconsiderately. Most don't drive defensively. They often aren't paying attention. But you combine this with other stresses inherent in daily life and people's reaction to those annoyances is out-sized — and dangerous. Lashing out in the heat of the moment isn't just poor decision-making. It's potentially deadly.
Study authors in the course of this survey learned that:
- 51 percent of drivers admitted to purposely tailgating. That amounts to 104 drivers nationwide.
- 47 percent of drivers - or about 95 million - admit to yelling at another driver.
- 33 percent of all motorists - or about 67 million - admit to making angry gestures.
- A quarter of drivers say they intentionally blocked another vehicle from changing lanes.
- Nearly 5 percent said they had gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver. That's 7.6 million drivers who admitted to doing this.
- Intentionally ramming or bumping into another vehicle - 3 percent of drivers copped to this. That's 5.7 million nationally.
Two-thirds of survey respondents said it was their view that aggressive driving is a bigger issue now than it was just three years ago. Ninety percent of all drivers said aggression behind the wheel is a sizable threat to their personal safety. Yet so many personally do this.
Recently in Connecticut, ABC 7 News reported police were searching for a man in West Hartford who was caught on camera swinging a crowbar at another driver's car in an apparent incident of road rage. Investigators say the woman filming the incident had been driving her vehicle in West Hartford on a recent Wednesday afternoon when she drove too close to the edge of the road and splashed water on a pedestrian. That man then got into his vehicle nearby and chased the woman for nearly a mile before cutting her off, getting out of his vehicle and approaching her vehicle with a crowbar. He then allegedly proceeded to pummel the vehicle with the crowbar.
The woman was not injured, but her vehicle sustained damage to the hood, headlight and rear passenger tail light. Authorities say the woman was able to get a clear picture of the alleged perpetrator, so they are confident an arrest will be made.
In terms of insurance coverage in road rage incidents, this can be more complicated than you might think. Auto insurance policies typically will not cover injuries suffered as a result of intentional acts of wrongdoing. So if another driver purposely hits your vehicle and causes you to suffer injuries, you may be somewhat limited in the type of damages you can seek.
It's important to discuss your options with an experienced Hartford car accident lawyer.