Road Rage – Does it affect my car accident?

Road Rage – How does it affect my accident?

I often get calls from people involved in car accidents wanting to know how “road rage” or other aggressive driving actions affects an accident. While each situation is different, there are some things to know about road rage; what it is, how it’s codified in California as a criminal offense, and how to avoid being a victim of road rage.


Aggressive, angry, rude, or confrontation actions or behaviors by drivers of vehicles.

Common Road Rage Actions/Behaviors

  • Tailgating, honking, flashing lights
  • Yelling, threatening, making obscene gestures, throwing projectiles
  • Cutting off a driver, intentionally making contact with another driver’s vehicle
  • Exiting a car, assaulting other drivers/passengers/cyclists

A Little History

The term “road rage” originated in the late 1980s, right here in Southern California when a rash of shootings occurred on the freeways of Los Angeles (in case you were wondering, the shootings occurred on the 405, 110, and 10 freeways).

Aggressive Driving v. Road Rage

Aggressive driving generally involves one or more traffic violations. Drivers may be fined up to $200 and receive points on their driving record for each moving violation associated with aggressive driving and could even spend time in jail. When a traffic incident escalates into a more serious situation, that’s road rage. If road rage results in violence, a collision or injury, it is a criminal offense (California Penal Code Sec. 245(a)).

How to Avoid an Incident with an Aggressive Driver

  • Be a confident, courteous, and calm driver
  • Allow aggressive drivers to pass, do not “brake check” them
  • Do not make eye contact, yell, or make gestures
  • If you still feel unsafe, you may want to call 9-1-1 or begin driving toward the local police station

Legal Action

California is one of few states that has legalized the term “road rage”. There are many laws and protections for the victims of road rage. If you think you may have been the victim of a road rage induced assault or battery, you may be able to take legal action. Consult a local attorney to figure out the next step you should take.

The author, Joshua Bonnici, is the managing attorney at BONNICI LAW GROUP, APC, who represents injured and disabled individuals fight for fair and just outcomes. Feel free to learn more and reach out for a free case evaluation, at: the firm, or at: 619-259-5199.

Disclaimer: while the jokes may be corny and the tone casual, none of the above is intended to be legal advice, and does not amount to any attorney-client relationship. Should you wish to investigate attorney representation, please contact us for a consultation to discuss a possible attorney-client relationship. Thank you!

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