Though many have heard about road rage, few truly grasp the problem. Many people don’t know that:
- More than 1,000 deaths have been attributed to road rage since 2007
- Over a 5 year period, reports of extremely angered drivers have doubled, increasing by 170%
- A review of more than 10,000 incidents by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that road rage resulted in at least 218 murders and 12,610 injuries
Another thing many people don’t know is that their auto insurance will not cover bodily injury or property damage caused by their road rage. In fact, insurance companies will routinely deny these claims, not because of a specific ‘road rage’ policy exclusion, but because of the nature of road rage itself.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as an assault with a motor vehicle by the operator of one motor vehicle on the occupants of another motor vehicle. In other words, road rage is viewed as an intentional act. As far as insurance companies are concerned, this makes all the difference.
Auto insurance typically covers ‘accidents’ that result in bodily injury or property damage. So the question becomes whether road rage can be considered an accident. One court recently said no, an accident is never present when a deliberate act is performed. Since road rage does not qualify as an accident, the court ruled in favor of the insurance company. Given their intentional nature, insurance companies can also deny road rage claims under a policy’s intentional act exclusion.
Since the lack of insurance coverage affects perpetrators and their victims, it is important to avoid road rage incidents whenever possible. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety suggests the following:
- Don’t Offend: avoid cutting other drivers off, driving slow in the left lane, tailgating or making gestures
- Don’t Engage: steer clear of aggressive drivers, avoid eye contact and get help if necessary
- Adjust Your Attitude: forget winning, put yourself in the other driver’s shoes and control your own anger
If you would like more information about auto insurance or would like help getting the coverage you need, please contact us.
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