While it’s sometimes tempting to let our emotions take over, there’s plenty of ways ‘road rage’ can land you in trouble with the law.
Beeping your horn in anger, making a rude gesture and tailgating could see you slapped with a fine, penalty points or even result in your car being seized.
As the temperatures rise and more cars hit the road, bosses at leading automotive outfit Select Car Leasing are reminding drivers to keep calm under the pressure.
Road rage is not a specific crime but many of the consequences of losing your temper fall under other offences such as careless driving, disorderly conduct or anti-social driving.
Rule 147 of the Highway Code reminds us to always be considerate of other road users.
It states: 'Do not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is behaving badly on the road. This will only make a situation worse. Pull over, calm down and, when you feel relaxed, continue your journey.'
Graham Conway, Managing Director of Select Car Leasing, said:
“We would always encourage anyone to try to remain as calm as possible behind the wheel and observe the laws of the road. With the highways and byways getting busier and busier there’s many examples of situations that can cause stress and even anger.
“While it can be hard on occasion to not react to situations such as being cut up in traffic or someone not indicating, the best course of action is always to take a deep breath and carry on as normal. If you do find your blood pressure rising while you are driving, think about pulling over and taking a few minutes to calm down before resuming your journey.”
If you do find yourself getting hot under the collar, these could be the consequences of your actions:
Making a rude hand gesture
Expressing your anger by making a rude hand gesture could see you sanctioned under the Public Order Act 1986 and you could be handed a fine, a caution or even find yourself in court.
Not being in full control of your vehicle, for example if you take your hands off the wheel to aggressively gesture at someone, is also an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991. You could be fined £1,000 and given three penalty points on your licence.
Shouting or swearing
Under the Public Order Act 1986 it is an offence to use threatening words or behaviour towards another person where it is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
This includes displaying and shouting abuse at another motorist in a car and could see you fined, given a caution, or you could end up in court.
If you drive inappropriately close to another car or overtake on the inside, you could be guilty of an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1991 for careless or inconsiderate driving.
The consequences of this could be a £1,000 fine and three penalty points on your licence.
Section 59 of the Police Reform Act also protects against driving in a way that causes another motorist ‘alarm, distress or annoyance. The order gives police the power to seize a vehicle.
The Highway Code says: 'Slow down and hold back if a road user pulls out into your path at a junction. Allow them to get clear. Do not overreact by driving too close behind to intimidate them.'
Beeping your horn
If you’re prone to beeping your horn in annoyance, you could fall foul of the law.
Under the Highway Code you should only use your horn to warn other road users of your presence. It must never be used to signal your anger.
If found to be using your horn without good reason, you could be fined £30, which could rise to £1,000 if not paid within 30 days.
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