Between dealing with traffic jams, reckless drivers and other stressors, being behind the wheel of a car can bring out the worst in people. Road rage may result from pent-up frustrations while driving, and, while common, can be dangerous. Road rage impairs a driver’s ability to think clearly and can even result in acts of violence. In the state of Texas, there are no laws that specifically speak to road rage. However, acts of aggression while driving fall under other categories, including moving violations and criminal acts.
What is Road Rage?
Acts associated with road rage are defined as behavior that is either aggressive or violent. They include hitting another vehicle with your car, running another car off the road, engaging in a physical confrontation with another driver, encouraging your passengers to fight another driver or using any form of weapon to harm other drivers or vehicles.
In many instances, incidents of road rage are preceded by aggressive driving. If you observe another driver, or even catch yourself, engaging in certain behaviors, you should proceed with caution to avoid acts of road rage. Some of these warning signs include tailgating, cutting other vehicles off, speeding, not using directional signals, excessive honking, yelling or swearing.
Whether you have wronged another driver accidentally or feel that you yourself have behaved improperly due to aggressive feelings, it’s possible to diffuse the situation by mouthing an apology or waving to the driver to acknowledge your error. When in doubt, give the other driver plenty of space and try to move on with your day. If you are the one frustrated, try to think about something else, listen to calming music or engage in conversation with your passenger on another topic to relax and shift your focus.
Read More: How to Report Road Rage
Texas Road Rage Laws
In Texas, it is possible to get a road rage ticket. Generally, incidents of road rage also involve a moving violation of some kind, such as cutting off another vehicle or tailgating the car in front of you. Though your ticket won’t be specifically for an act of road rage, your aggressive behavior was at the root of the moving violation for which you’ll be given the ticket.
Generally, each moving violation warrants a $200 fine under Texas law. Depending on the nature of the violation and a driver’s history, jail time could also be mandated. Other crimes for which road rage aggressors may be found guilty include reckless driving (punishable by up to 30 days in jail or a $200 fine), deadly misconduct (a class A misdemeanor), assault and battery, or vehicular manslaughter (a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in state prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000).
If law enforcement officers observe acts of road rage or other aggressive behavior, they can pull you over and charge you with a moving violation or criminal act, depending on the incident. In addition, if another driver accuses you of violence, you can be arrested on those grounds. Traffic cameras or dashboard cameras may also be used to present evidence of aggression on the road.
Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Her experience includes years of work in the insurance, workers compensation, disability, and background investigation fields. She has written on legal topics for a number of other clients. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and enjoys writing legal articles and blogs for clients in related industries.