Increasingly congested traffic in cities across the country are resulting in more drivers being stressed out, impatient and angry, and New York is no exception. It is one thing for drivers in the Big Apple to honk their horns, use an angry gesture or cut people off. While these behaviors could cause an accident if others react angrily in response, they are not generally considered against the law. It is another matter, however, when drivers purposefully attempt to harm someone else.
This behavior is known as road rage. Intentionally targeting another driver by using a weapon, chasing the other vehicle down or cornering the other person for a confrontation are considered assault and can result in criminal charges. An incident that occurred earlier this month on the west side illustrates how quickly and unexpectedly a road rage incident can escalate. As reported by CBS New York, a motorcyclist and an SUV driver became involved in a verbal argument over unknown circumstances. Witnesses said the SUV driver struck the motorcycle rider and pinned him underneath his vehicle, resulting in injuries that were fortunately not life-threatening. The man was arrested, and authorities say he is facing charges.
Drivers who are upset by a real or perceived slight may become so angry that they react without thinking, which can result in an otherwise law-abiding citizen doing something he or she may later regret. It might help to remember to stay calm in traffic, to take deep breaths and to remind one’s self that other drivers may not intentionally cause offense. Those who are facing charges, however, are entitled to a competent defense.