Road Rage

According to one study, 78% of Canadian drivers report being a witness to road rage and 51% admit that they’ve engaged in aggressive driving themselves.


As if those numbers aren’t high enough, the incidences of road rage and aggressive driving seem to be increasing in Ontario. This should be concerning to all drivers, because expressions of anger that affect driving behavior can have severe, even fatal, consequences.


Understanding what road rage is, where it occurs most often, and what to do if you’re on the receiving end, can keep you and your loved ones safer on the road.


What Is Road Rage?

Road rage and aggressive driving are not the same. Road rage involves rude, intimidating, or dangerous behavior fueled by anger. Verbal insults, verbal threats, yelling, inappropriate honking, tailgating, brake checking, cutting off other motorists, attempting to fight, and other forms of intimidation are all considered symptoms of road rage.


Road rage, in and of itself, isn’t a crime under the Criminal Code or Highway Traffic Act. Meaning, you can’t be charged or convicted of road rage.


Instead, charges associated with road rage are focused on aggressive driving. That is, intentionally engaging in risky behavior on the road. Aggressive driving isn’t always a result of road rage, but people who experience road rage often participate in these types of behaviors when their emotions have gotten the best of them on the road.


There are a number of infractions that fall under this category that individuals may be charged with. In Ontario, the most common infractions associated with road rage and/or aggressive driving are failure to stop, failure to signal, improper lane change, speeding, improper passing, following too closely, and distracted driving or prohibited use of handheld devices.


Rising Incidence of Road Rage in Ontario

In 2022, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) reported that, since the COVID 19 pandemic began, dangerous and aggressive driving has increased. There is no known correlation between the two and the reasons for this are uncertain.


What is certain is that the numbers don’t lie. Between January and November 2022, there were more than 48,000 traffic violations that fell under the category of aggressive driving. Furthermore, deaths from speeding and aggressive driving reached the highest they’d been in a decade in 2021.


Although this phenomenon affects all of Ontario, some areas of the province are more dangerous than others when it comes to aggressive driving. Using a database of insurance quotes, one study identified the Ontario cities with the most aggressive drivers. The top 10 cities with the most road-rage related incidents are as follows:


  1. North York
  2. Hamilton
  3. Brampton
  4. Mississauga
  5. Scarborough
  6. Brantford
  7. Etobicoke
  8. Toronto
  9. Kitchener
  10. London


Of all the possible aggressive driving infractions, speeding and improper lane changes were the most common.


Consequences of Road Rage

Road rage usually has nothing to do with traffic or other drivers. In many cases this is anger or frustration that builds up from other aspects of life – the road is just a place to express that anger. But that release of emotion can severely impair driving, causing individuals to engage in aggressive driving behaviors that negatively impact their safety as well as the safety of those around them.


If you’re caught driving aggressively, you may receive high fines and points against your license. Road rage and aggressive driving can easily lead to accidents wherein you injure yourself or others. At the very least, this can lead to charges and higher insurance premiums, at the very worst, it could lead to death or jail time.


How to Deal with Road Rage

The rules of the road and the laws governing them are there to keep you and others safe. It’s essential to follow the rules of the road not only to avoid being charged, but to keep yourself and others as safe as possible.


If you find that you’re becoming angry or frustrated behind the wheel, consider pulling over. Taking just a few minutes to breathe can help you cool down, collect yourself, and avoid making rash decisions that could have severe consequences.


On the other hand, if you’re the victim of an incident wherein someone is driving aggressively, behaving rudely, or expressing road rage, do not engage that driver. Instead, pull over, call 911 to report the incident, and stay in your car until help comes. Getting off the road keeps you safe and allows the authorities to handle the job they’re better equipped to handle.


Have You Been on the Receiving End of Road Rage?

Drivers who express anger through aggressive driving behaviors put everybody on the road at risk. Though there is no law against road rage, there are plenty of laws against aggressive driving.


If you or a loved one were on the receiving end of someone’s aggressive driving, and were injured as a result, you’re entitled to compensation. Don’t let aggressive driver’s get away with their inability to control their emotions, contact us for a consultation today.

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