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Calm Down, How to Avoid Road Rage & Reckless Driving

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CA Vehicle Code (CVC) 23103Driving Offenses makes reckless driving a misdemeanor crime and, if convicted, you face severe penalties including jail time. 

An incident reported on SCV The Signal went viral on the internet in June of 2017. An angry motorcyclist kicked a car, which slammed into the concrete median and bounced back into an oncoming white pickup truck turning it over on Highway 14 in Santa Clarita north of Los Angeles. Many incidents of road rage are seen in newspapers and on the internet daily. One defendant was recently sentenced to thirty years in February for shooting the NFL star, Joe McKnight, in a road rage incident. Road rage can have horrific consequences, but we can avoid most instances if we plan our trips, even to work. 

Avoid Creating Stress or Road Rage While Driving

Like the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” avoiding road rage requires all drivers to avoid creating stress and learning how to better deal with frustration while out there on CA freeways.

  • Don’t tailgate
  • Respect signs and other drivers
  • “Slow Down, Move Over” in construction areas; it’s the law
  • Be patient; life is not a race
  • Plan your turns and use your blinker
  • Lay off the horn; it will not clear the traffic jam
  • Avoid distractors while driving, eating, cell phones, applying makeup, or shaving

Music for the Trip to Avoid Road Rage

You'll never know why another driver gets angry. However, you can train yourself to relax, listen to calming music, and insist passengers use headphones when listening to loud music. You should keep the volume low and pay attention to other drivers, changing traffic patterns, and use common sense and blinkers. Use imagery relaxation to avoid getting angry when someone cuts you off. Their actions may have been rude and even dangerous, but an aggressive reaction could be even riskier. 

Drive in the Right Lane and Leave the Left Lane for Passing

You are safer driving in the right lane instead of the passing lane on a freeway because the most dangerous accidents occur while a car or truck is making a left turn or U-Turn. Plus, CA Vehicle Code 22400Other Speed Laws paragraph (a) requires that no one should drive so slow as to “…impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic…”Also, avoid sudden or unnecessary stops except when safety dictates. That means that you as a driver,  do not have the right to regulate or enforce speed limits by driving slow in the left lane to make others obey the speed limit.  

Is Road Rage Reckless Driving?

You could go to county jail if convicted of a misdemeanor reckless driving charge according to California Vehicle Code 23103 (CVC) 23103Public Offenses. This traffic code is defined by the term, “willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property.”Therefore, road rage when acted upon is usually a willful act, such as the motorcyclist that kicked the other car. We do not know what caused the motorcyclist to kick the car from public videos; perhaps he was reacting to a bump or to being cut off. Whatever the reason for his action or reaction, it would be judged by most as reckless behavior. Not all occurrences of reckless driving are road rage, but authorities cite road rage as the number one reason for those charges. 

The penalty for reckless driving is five days to three months in jail, a $145 to $1,000 fine, or both. Those minimum and maximum fines are only the base fine. Your actual fine could be five to seven times that much after the state and county add surcharges, fees, and assessments. A $145 fine is closer to $665, depending on the county. And, if someone was injured because of your actions the penalties get much steeper, including a civil suit where the judge could order restitution for damages.

Reckless Driving Defense Attorney

When charged with reckless driving or the “willful” disregard for the health and safety of others under CVC 23103, you need an experienced traffic ticket defense attorney. You face a substantial fine, jail time, and a criminal record for life if convicted. Plus, the possible civil penalties for damages. Consult with a traffic ticket defense attorney before you decide what action to take. 

Legal Assistance in Barstow, CA   

When you get charged with reckless driving or any traffic violation, call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300. Consulting with an informed traffic ticket attorney can help you understand your legal options. Se habla Español 661.349.9755. Or, send an email, attorney@biggerharmanlaw.com

Bigger & Harman maintain a Facebook business page to inform drivers about changes to traffic laws in CA, road closures, and provide legal information. You can also read their bio, endorsements from other attorneys, and feedback from clients on Avvo and NoloYelp ,a national,local review website allows users of the Bigger & Harman law service to leave their impressions of the legal services they received; there are currently nearly 100 reviews.Byreading a few of these resources, you will develop a better understanding of what they can do for you.

References:

CVC 23103Driving Offenses

CVC 22400Other Speed Laws

The 2018 California Superior Court Bail Schedule for Infractions and Misdemeanors.pdf