Road rage, an extreme form of aggressive driving, is a serious issue for drivers on the congested highways across the Tampa Bay area. Accidents or obscene gestures can cause road rage and erupt in fights or assaults that can cause debilitating injuries and even death.

Road rage is an assault with a motor vehicle or a dangerous weapon caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway or highway. Half of drivers who are on the receiving end of aggressive driving such as horn blowing, obscene gestures or tailgating admit to responding with aggressive behavior.

In South Tampa, a fight broke out recently after a minor traffic accident and escalated into a stabbing in which the man with the knife gave first aid to the man he wounded, according to a Tampa Bay Times article.

Police said 36-year-old Robert Suarez was riding with his girlfriend in her Audi on MacDill Avenue when it was hit in the rear by a Toyota Avalon driving by 22-year-old Steven Baker.

The vehicles pulled into a nearby apartment parking lot and one of Baker’s passengers began arguing with Suarez and punching him. Suarez fell in the parking lot and Baker kicked him in the head, according to police.

Defending himself, Suarez pulled a knife and stabbed Baker, but then in a moment of remorse began applying pressure to the wound to stem the blooding, police said. Baker was transported to Tampa General Hospital in serious condition but that was later upgraded to good condition, according to the article.

What to Do When Confronted by an Aggressive Driver

If you’re a victim of road rage, it’s important to know what NOT to do.

  • Do not react to or retaliate against the other driver.
  • Do not honk your horn or gesture at the other driver.
  • Get out of the left lane for faster traffic.
  • Avoid direct eye contact.
  • Avoid confrontation.
  • Keep in mind that it’s not your duty to punish other drivers for poor driving.
  • Do not get out of your vehicle or use your vehicle to intimidate others.
  • If you feel threatened, call the police.
  • Do not become frustrated or stressed out.
  • Keep in mind that getting to your destination safely is your top priority.

Often, vehicles can turn into dangerous weapons, especially when motorists lose their temper. And even people who are normally calm and collected can forget who they are momentarily and get involved in road-rage incidents.

These incidents can end in crashes or other confrontations involving weapons and the potential for injuries.

Victims of road rage may have legal rights to seek compensation for injuries caused by their aggressors. If you are hurt in a road-rage incident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal system and help you receive an award to cover the costs of lost work time, mental anguish and physical injuries.

Don’t allow someone else’s anger on the road ruin your life.