California Road Rage and Accident Injury Statistics


We don’t usually think of a car as a weapon, but in the wrong hands, a car can be more deadly than a gun. When an individual drives with road rage, they are effectively weaponing their car. Road rage puts everyone on the road with the angry driver at risk of death or serious injury. Below are some California road rage and accident injury statistics.

Auto Accident Injury Statistics:

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the average weight of a consumer end vehicle is more than 4000 pounds! This includes cars, sports utility vehicles, vans, and light-weight trucks — not commercial sized vehicles. To put this into the proper perspective, 4000 pounds equals 2 tons! It’s also the same approximate weight as an Asian elephant, a female orca whale, or an African hippopotamus. In other words, the average weight of a vehicle on the road is VERY heavy. In fact, some consumer end vehicles are approaching 3 tons, or 6000 pounds!

The force on impact, even at very slow speeds, when a 2 to 3 ton vehicle collides with a human being or another car is enormous. This force increases dramatically as the speed at impact increases. The force on impact roughly quadruples every time the speed is doubled. In other words, the force on impact at 50 mph is 4 times greater than the force on impact at 25 mph. A difference of just 10 mph can quite literally mean the difference between life and death, crippled for life or not, motherless child or not.

It bears repeating: a vehicle in the wrong hands is a weapon, and the faster it is going, the more deadly weapon it makes.

Consider the Following Accident Injury Statistics:

– If a pedestrian is hit by a car at 20 mph, they die 10 percent of the time.
– If a pedestrian is hit by a car at 30 mph, they die 50 percent of the time.
– If a pedestrian is hit by a car at 40 mph, they die 90 percent of the time.

So, a speed increase of just 20 mph per hour increases the odds of the pedestrian dying after being struck by a vehicle by 80 percent!! Please remember this statistic the next time you’re driving and you see someone attempting to cross the road on foot or on a bicycle!

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates the following:

1. Approximately 33 percent of all motor vehicle accidents are due to aggressive driving!
2. Approximately 67 percent of all vehicle related fatalities are due to aggressive driving!

When you really stop and think about these stats, it is alarming that the majority of highway deaths are due to people irresponsibly turning their vehicle into a weapon.

Causes of road rage accidents include many types of aggressive driver behavior. Here are some examples:

1. Speeding
2. Running red lights and/or stop signs
3. Cutting off other drivers
4. Speeding around a slower driver in an aggressive way
5. Honking the horn in an aggressive way
6. Flipping off another driver, biker, or pedestrian
7. Yelling or screaming at another driver, biker, or pedestrian
8. Intentionally staring someone down or giving them a dirty look
9. Tailgating too close to be able to stop safely
10. Braking unexpectedly, especially when another car is behind you
11. Flashing your headlights aggressively at someone
12. Flipping your high beam lights at an oncoming car
13. Driving sporadically or recklessly
14. Using your vehicle to scare someone
15. Using the median or emergency shoulder to pass other cars
16. Throwing things out the window at another car/biker/person or in their path
17. Getting out of the car to threaten, harass, or physically attack someone
18. Weaving in and out of traffic
It should be noted that some jurisdictions make a distinction between “road rage” and “aggressive driving” wherein the former is considered intentional and the latter is not. In other jurisdictions, road rage is simply considered an extreme form of aggressive driving. However, in most vernacular usage, “road rage” includes all of the aggressive driving behaviors listed above. More importantly, drivers are personally liable for all damages they inflict while driving aggressively, although criminal charges may also be filed depending on the specific law in that jurisdiction.

In a survey conducted by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, eight out of ten drivers feel their personal safety has been seriously jeopardized by aggressive drivers. There has also been a significant rise in this number over the last two decades. If you have questions, contact a road rage attorney for a free consultation.

What can responsible citizens do to improve the road rage situation?

If another driver makes an obscene gesture at you, cuts you off, tailgates you, or exhibits any other aggressive behavior, the safest thing you can do is to try to carefully avoid them and don’t do anything that could escalate the situation. This may be difficult to do at times when the situation seems really unfair. However, now that you know the statistics, it may be easier for you to be the bigger person and minimize the risk to yourself, your passengers, and the other drivers on the road. In fact, it is best to even avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver as they are often so out of control that any little thing could set them off even more. Also, if you are really angry, take the time to cool down before you start driving. Causing a road rage accident will lead to injuries, legal troubles and potentially criminal charges.

California Road Rage Attorneys

In the state of California, using your car in an aggressive way is considered a crime and you can go to jail for doing so. If you are hit by an aggressive driver, you are entitled to file a personal injury suit against the driver for all your damages. To protect your rights and ensure you are fully compensated, it is best to let a personal injury attorney with experience in this specific type of case handle the situation for you. A good personal injury attorney can also make a terrible situation far less stressful. The May Firm has a great deal of expertise in this area of the law and the initial consultation is free.

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