Sandy Springs Incident Illustrates Why Atlanta is 4th in the Nation for Road Rage
Road rage was the culprit in a recent assault case in Sandy Springs. According to the victim, a female driver, a man driving a red sports car near Abernathy Road and Roswell Road on Monday afternoon became angry with her because she slowed her car in traffic. The man left his car, approached the woman’s window, and cursed at her. Then he punched her in the face.
After that, the man sped away, but not before the woman was able to note down his tag number. Police are currently investigating the incident and we’ll bring you more here on the MLN Law blog as the news breaks.
This incident was just one more example of why Atlanta was recently ranked 4th in the nation when it comes to road rage incidents. Interestingly enough, despite that ranking, Georgia does not have any specific road rage laws on the books. Instead, cases like the Monday incident in Sandy Springs are prosecuted criminally as assault and battery or, if someone is killed, vehicular manslaughter.
I’ve written about the signs of road rage before, but as back to school season kicks into full swing, it bears repeating. You are road raging (or the victim of another driver’s road rage) when someone is:
• Aggressive driving such as tailgating, following closely, and cutting into lanes of traffic
• Deliberately preventing someone from merging
• Sounding the vehicle’s horn or flashing its lights excessively
• Using rude gestures
• Shouting verbal abuse or threats
• Intentionally causing a wreck
• Exiting the car and attempting to start a confrontation (as occurred in the Sandy Springs incident)
• Striking someone else’s vehicle with an object
• Threatening to use or actually using a firearm or other deadly weapon
The latest numbers on road rage show about 1,200 incidents per year in the United States, with at least 300 per year leading to serious injury or even fatality.
What you might not know about road rage is that the American Psychological Association has classified it as a mental disorder called “ intermittent explosive disorder.” While there is no excuse for road rage, if you or someone you know shows signs of intermittent explosive disorder, it is best to seek treatment before a blow up behind the wheel leads to an accident, an arrest or something much worse.
If you have found yourself the victim of road rage, do not panic. Simply continue to obey all traffic laws and, if possible, extract yourself from the situation by pulling up to the nearest police station and honking your horn loudly. Use good judgment when pulling over to the side of the road or anywhere else not associated with law enforcement. While most road ragers will go on their way once the incident has passed, others – like the perpetrator in the Sandy Springs incident – might exit their vehicles to continue the perceived “fight.” Don’t let yourself become a statistic.