Recently, a man was shot and killed in a road rage incident that occurred in Nashville, Tennessee when a car driven by Graeme Whinery cut off a delivery truck driven by Vince Freeman. According to reports, Freeman was driving aggressively while Whinery purposely slammed on his brakes numerous times. The aggressive driving continued further until both vehicles pulled into a cemetery, where Whinery approached Freeman with a knife. Freeman reached for a pistol and fired at Whinery, who died on the scene.
Nearly 80% of drivers experienced road rage at least once in the past year, according to a recent study conducted by the American Automobile Association. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration describes road rage as the purposeful endangerment by a driver against another driver’s safety or property. Road rage can occur between motorists while inside their vehicles, or it can lead to confrontations outside of vehicles like in the case mentioned above. Many road rage incidents unfortunately escalate to violence, including gunshots.
Road rage can be caused by a number of factors, including traffic delays, distracted driving, erratic driving, and drivers running late. Frustration caused by these factors may lead drivers to drive more aggressively or react more aggressively to other drivers. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, honking, hand gestures, and the display or use of firearms. While some of these forms of road rage are objectively more severe than others, all may result in criminal charges in Tennessee. In Tennessee, reckless driving can result in a fine or jail time. Also, a car can be considered a deadly weapon for purposes of a charge of reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, which is a felony and can be accompanied by jail time if convicted.
With such serious consequences, it is important to know what you can do to avoid road rage. If you find yourself in a road rage scenario, whether the other driver initiated it, do not escalate the situation. It is vital to keep a level head. Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction intentionally. If you feel you have been wronged by another driver, try not to make eye contact if possible. Most importantly, driving experts advise to be forgiving when possible. You can assume the other driver is having a bad day and remind yourself that the other driver may be bad at handling stress. If all else fails, you may report the aggressive driver and call for assistance by dialing *THP (Tennessee Highway Patrol).
Despite all the harm associated with road rage throughout Tennessee, experts at the American Automobile Association predict road rage will continue to increase by 7% annually. More police traffic patrols could reduce the number of road rage incidents, as could costlier tickets for speeding or higher insurance rates for drivers who have a record of aggressive driving. However, these would likely only have a minimal effect on the general population and road rage as a whole. Ultimately, road rage is about the individual’s choice to remain calm while driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that approximately two-thirds of fatal car accidents involve aggressive driving. Aggressive driving can be considered reckless driving in court. It impairs judgment and can result in jail time or worse. If you have been injured by an aggressive driver, call the Tennessee car accident lawyers at Nahon, Saharovich & Trotz at 1-800-LAW-4004 as soon as possible to discuss your case.