Many drivers might not experience the threat of road rage – but will admit to seeing a lot of aggressive driving on our roads. But is there a difference and what would the difference be?
In the US, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration draws a distinction between aggressive driving and road rage.
- Aggressive driving is dangerous on-the-road behavior such as speeding, tailgating, weaving and running stop signs or red lights.
- Road rage involves angry or violent behaviors at the extreme end of the aggressive-driving spectrum.
The difference: Aggressive driving typically results in a traffic offense; road rage, beyond the yelling and gesturing stage, can escalate into a criminal offense.
Why is this distinction important for insurance?
It is important to consider why the distinction between these 2 concepts is also important for insurance.
“Generally, insurance is designed to cover accidents and our own stupidity, not intentional acts,” says Michael Randles, president of Insurance Center Associates of San Pedro, Calif. “Most policies have an exclusion for intentional acts with regard to property damage and bodily injury.”
Importance of establishing intent
It is important for insurers to establish whether there was intent on the part of the aggressive or enraged driver. You have intent when you knowingly and willingly do something:
– You know that what you are doing is wrong
– Whilst knowing that it is wrong – you still willingly continue with the action
Insurers have confirmed that not all intentions are necessarily bad or will exclude cover. If you were intentionally speeding and ran into somebody, that’s covered, but if you intentionally rear-end or sideswipe somebody because you’re mad, that’s not going to be covered by insurance.
Consequences of road rage and aggressive driving related accident claims
If the insurer finds from your accident claims history that you appear to be an aggressive driver they may decide not to renew your policy or they may just raise the rates the next time around to the point where the policyholder terminates the agreement. The vehicle owner might also find it more difficult to find a new insurance policy at a new insurer and might have to reveal why he has been rejected…
Conclusion and Advice
Best advice from the car insurers is not to play along. Conflict can only continue to exist with participation!
“Just put as much distance between you and the other person as possible, because if they’re driving crazy, even if they don’t hit you, they’re likely to cause an accident up ahead that you definitely don’t want to be involved in.”
[Info also with recognition to Foxbusiness.com]