We all know road rage when we see it: extreme or prolonged tailgating, dangerous weaving in and out of traffic or even a driver aggressively using their horn, yelling and shaking their fist at another driver. A Spokane news article described some folks involved in a recent road rage situation. Washington State actually has some descriptions for road rage and aggressive driving that encompass more behaviors than we might initially think.

The Washington State Department of Licensing (DOL) follows the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s definition of road rage. It’s “an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway.” DOL describes aggressive driving as “two or more [simultaneous] moving violations that are likely to endanger other persons or property, or any single intentional violation that requires a defensive reaction of another driver.” Washington DOL says some of the signs of road rage include mentally condemning or having thoughts of violence toward other drivers, verbally expressing condemnation of other drivers to passengers in your vehicle, not obeying traffic safety rules because you don’t agree with them and engaging in risky driving behavior. Some common risky driving behaviors are following to closely, weaving in out of traffic, speeding up to beat a traffic light, braking to get others to back away from your bumper and using your horn excessively.

Road rage is very serious. The Washington State Patrol has some safety tips for minimizing and avoiding road rage. They encourage all of us to immediately report this type of behavior precisely because it’s so dangerous.

Driving aggressively or exhibiting road rage can lead to tickets and fines or even criminal charges. The Washington State courts and DOL can require a driver improvement course or defensive driving course and suspend your driver license. A conviction in court can even lead to jail time. If you’ve been cited for any kind of driving or traffic violation, trust the attorneys at Cooney Law Offices to guide you through the process. We can help.