Personal Injury Lawyer
Office Locations
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin
1-866-900-7078
Contact the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin 1-866-900-7078

Road Rage Rages During the Holidays (Tips on How You Can Steer Clear)

For many North Carolina residents there's no avoiding travel during the holidays. Shopping. Visiting. Parties. And the usual commutes to work, kids' games and practices. Time is tight. People are stressed.

And road rage rages.

Just in the past couple of months:

A man pulled a gun on another driver while at Concord intersection during a road rage incident.

A Hoke County man was shot and killed when an enraged driver plowed into his car, pulled out a gun and shot him.

At UNC Greensboro two cars tried to block another car that was carrying a young passenger. One of the drivers pulled out a gun.

What in the world is going on?

I'll tell you what is going on.

More Stress + More Cars + Less Time = ROAD RAGE

People are stressed. Some are impaired by alcohol or drugs (including prescription drugs). Many are in a hurry. And some are just plain rude.

An article in Psychiatry MMC, published on the National Institutes of Health website, offers this:

"Up to one-third of community participants report being perpetrators of road rage, indicating that various forms of road rage are relatively commonplace. ...The most common offenders appear to be young and male. A number of factors may contribute to road rage, including environmental factors (e.g., greater number of miles driven per day, traffic density), nonspecific psychological factors (e.g., displaced aggression, attribution of blame to others), and ... alcohol and substance misuse. ... Some reasons include borderline and antisocial personality disorders."

Why Is Road Rage Higher During the Holidays?

Why is road rage on the rise during the holidays? We've been representing accident victims since 1997, and here's what we've observed:

  • Traffic. This one almost goes without saying: the more traffic, the more likely it is for drivers to get frustrated and angry. With tens of thousands of extra cars on the road, the holidays become a breeding ground for road rage, especially during peak travel and shopping times.
  • Unfamiliarity. Thanks to our mild climate in North Carolina, we see a lot of friends and relatives coming from out of state for the holidays. Unfortunately, that means there are many more drivers on the road who don't know our roads well.
  • Unsafe maneuvers. One reason out-of-state drivers are disproportionately likely to cause road rage accidents is that they may potentially make unsafe maneuvers because they are not familiar with the roads. And tailgating, switching lanes, and making turns without signaling can all lead to road rage. Even something as simple as slowing down to try to read street signs can trigger rage.
  • Shopping and parking. Parking lots are some of the most common places road rage can happen any time of year. When the holiday shopping season hits, the parking lots at the Tanger outlets in Mebane and even your local Walmart can become a mob scene. Too many cars vying for limited parking spaces can turn ugly fast.
  • Seasonal stress. The stress of coordinating guests and celebrations, shopping, planning, decorating and all of the other tasks that come with the holidays can lead to an increase in stress on the roads.
  • Celebrations. Motorists who go out of their way to enjoy the holidays may be at risk of road rage. Holiday parties can lead to late nights out, and lack of sleep can contribute to road rage. Likewise, drug and alcohol use can cause drivers to become aggressive and impatient with others.
  • Winter weather. Winters in North Carolina generally aren't bad, but we all remember the ice storm of January 2015. Even a little snow or sleet can contribute to road rage.

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) lists even more reasons you might find worth reading.

What to Do If You Are Confronted By an Enraged Driver

If you are confronted by an enraged driver, DMV.org suggests being the bigger person and showing remorse by:

  • Waving to the other driver
  • Mouthing that you're sorry
  • Allowing plenty of room for them to pass you
  • If it gets out of hand, call 911 as soon as it is safe to. And don't get out of your car if someone confronts you.

How to Keep Road Rage in Check

You can't control other drivers' behavior, but you can take steps to try to keep yourself safe from aggressive drivers. Here are a few ways to avoid being hurt in a road rage accident:

  • Make sure you're OK to drive. Be conscientious of whether you're too stressed, frustrated, or tired to get behind the wheel. If your safety is at risk, consider if those errands can wait.
  • Plan ahead. Just know there will be heavy traffic and give yourself enough time to get your tasks done. Plan your shopping trips and other errands before you leave home. If it's possible to arrange your schedule to go during off-peak hours, you'll be much safer.
  • Avoid distractions. Distracted driving can lead to missed green lights, failure to signal, and other maneuvers that could trigger road rage.
  • Stay calm, no matter what. If you witness road rage, the absolute safest thing you can do is not respond. Don't make eye contact, and certainly don't hit your horn, tailgate, or antagonize the other driver.

If you feel yourself getting stressed because of another driver, Psychology Today suggests you practice stress breathing in your car: inhale for a count of four, hold for count of four, exhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and repeat as many times as necessary to help bring your pulse rate and blood pressure back to normal levels.

The article goes on to suggest that you keep your perspective. You cannot control, coerce, or fix the other driver. But you can control you. Focus on being "relentlessly positive" and practice kindness, starting with you first.

Like my grandmother used to say, "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

Get a FREE Case Evaluation From North Carolina Car Wreck Lawyers

If you or someone you love has been injured by an aggressive driver in a road rage incident in North Carolina, contact us now for a free case evaluation or call us at 1-866-900-7078.

How Do You Choose a Workers’ Comp Attorney? FREE Resource Can Help.

It's bad enough you were injured at work. Now you're having problems with your workers' compensation insurance company or your employer - or both?

So you decide you need to hire an attorney. Hiring an attorney is a major decision in its own right. But now you need to narrow down your choices from the thousands of workers' compensation lawyers in North Carolina.

Enough already! We have a tool that can potentially help you cut through the jargon and marketing-speak to decide who might be best for you.

FREE Resource Can Help You Choose a NC Workers' Comp Lawyer

Because we heard from so many clients how difficult and time consuming it was for them to wade through all the websites for workers' comp attorneys, TV ads, etc., we developed something to help cut through the noise.

How to Choose a Lawyer for Your Workers' Compensation Claim is an online resource FREE to anyone.

It not only highlights certain qualities you might want to consider in a workers' comp attorney, it includes a handful of important questions every potential client should consider asking a lawyer before hiring. So we also turned it into a printable sheet of interview questions for potential clients.

First, we suggest narrowing your initial choices to a manageable number - much as you might do when hiring a home contractor. Once that's decided, contact each one by phone to set up about 15 minutes to ask the questions on this checklist.

You may have more questions of your own, but we believe this is a good starting point.

And remember to read "between the lines." Listen for answers, of course, but also listen for a genuine concern for your issues and willingness to represent you.

Need Help?

If you have additional questions others may not be able to answer, feel free to contact us or call us at 1-866-900-7078. We'll do our best to try to help you find the answers you need.

Holiday Party Hosts Better Watch Out - You Could Be Liable for Injuries Drunken Guests Cause. (10 Things You Need to Know)

If you plan on being the holiday host or hostess with the mostest this season, here's something you should know.

If your mostest includes alcohol and your guests overindulge, you could potentially be on the hook if they wreck their car and kill or injure someone. As a matter of fact, you could be held liable if they trip over a tree root while stumbling home and chip a tooth.

In North Carolina you can be held responsible for whatever happens to your drunken guests after they leave your party. If it's bad enough, you could find yourself ringing in the New Year with unwanted legal fees and court costs.

You might think your friend wouldn't sue you over their own drunken negligence. Perhaps not. But those they injure sure could - especially if they had a good North Carolina personal injury lawyer. If my client was seriously injured because of the negligence of another, I'd go after each and every negligent party I could find.

Whether it's a holiday party, Super Bowl party, or a back-yard brunch, you don't want to be held liable because your guest caused personal injury. I've seen these types of situations ruin lives in certain instances.

How Is a Party Host Liable in NC?

Liability extends to anyone who provides alcohol to guests. North Carolina law says that when an intoxicated guest causes an injury or accident, the injured person may be able to seek damages from the host if they:

  • Provided or served alcohol
  • Knew or even should have known the person served was drunk
  • Knew the person would be driving after drinking alcohol served at the party

Let's say, for example, you had a holiday open house at your new home in Winston-Salem. A guest who lives in Greensboro is among the first to arrive and the last to leave. You really haven't paid much attention to how many times you've refilled his glass. When he's ready to drive home, it doesn't occur to you that he may be impaired, because he seems coherent and alert. And besides, you assume that he's responsible enough to sober up before driving back to Greensboro. On his drive home he crosses over the center line of Route 421 at Willow Bend and crashes head on with a mini van carrying a young family. Thankfully no one is killed, but all of them sustained significant injuries. The driver was blinded by the airbag chemicals, the mom broke her back in three places, and one of the three children in the backseat sustained a severe concussion from which she will never recover.

Don't think for one minute that family isn't going to get a good North Carolina personal injury lawyer to try to sue him and you for everything they could possibly get. With all the medical bills they'll have to pay - and significant time out of work for mom and dad for their injuries - they'll need every penny that's potentially coming to them.

Do you really want that responsibility on your shoulders? Unless you have a whopping umbrella policy, you could possibly lose just about everything you own. Life for everyone - including you - will never be the same.

It's just not worth the risk.

If you're planning a holiday party this season, here's a list you'll want to check twice before your guests enjoy that first glass of holiday cheer.

10 Ways to Minimize Your Liability When Hosting a Holiday Party

  1. Consider using a professional bartender who is used to recognizing early signs of
  2. Serve food with proteins and fats which can help absorb the effects of alcohol.
  3. Offer a variety of soft drinks, coffee, tea, and water in addition to alcohol.
  4. Stop serving alcohol at least an hour before you expect guests to begin leaving.
  5. Have an Uber, Lyft, taxi number, or app handy or at least one or more designated driver services throughout North Carolina (some will even take the guest's car home). Why not provide a designated driver for them if your guests live close by?
  6. Ask one or two of your guests to monitor the crowd for potential problems and to take the initiative to offer rides to those who seem to need it.
  7. Make sure your guests know you want them to have fun, but to act responsibly.
  8. If you see a guest that's suspect, take their keys if you have to. (Remember friends don't let friends drive drunk.)
  9. Encourage your guests to wear their seatbelts while driving home. If they're involved in a car crash, they'll be better protected.
  10. Be open to overnight stays if an intoxicated guest cannot get a ride home. An air mattress is cheaper than a lawsuit.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Personal Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident as a result of a drunk driver - or any driver - contact us or call 1-866-900-7078.

 

P.S. Studies have shown that, on average, car accident victims who hired a personal injury lawyer to represent them received 3.5X more compensation for their loss than they would have on their own*.

 

*Insurance Research Council, 1999.

Texting and Driving – Just as Addictive as Gambling or Drugs

We know better than to text, check Snapchat, like a Facebook post, or talk on the phone while driving.

We know better.

We've heard and read the heartbreaking stories of lives lost and ruined. But why do we do it anyway? For the same reason you can't eat just one potato chip. Or you "Gotta Catch 'Em All."

chipsDopamine, the Ping, and Addiction

Dopamine is partly to blame. It's the chemical reaction in your brain that leads to addiction. The ping of your cell phone creates the same arousal response that activates your brain's reward center. And it is a key transmitter in a highly complex chemical relationship that sometimes leads to addictive behaviors. Food. Gambling. Video gaming. Drugs and alcohol. Shopping.

And texting while driving.

When we hear the ping of a text message, social media update, or email, our brains get a hit of dopamine. Who's it from? Who liked my post? What am I missing out on if I don't read this? Experts are learning that this initial hit, interestingly, can lead to a higher rush of dopamine than reading the message itself. And it's not just with cell phones. The internet can also prompt addictive behavior.

"Ha Ha. Made Ya Look!"

Dopamine is a large part of the reason we are drawn to the urge to give in to a pleasurable experience. And you can't stop the dopamine reaction any more than you can stop adrenaline from making you jump when startled. It's autonomic. It's primal. It's how we are wired. And some scientists say it's much of the reason why our species has survived for millennia. Food equals life. Sex equals the procreation of mankind.

We humans are wired to want to give in to our pleasures and primal urges. And that, some researchers say, is why we have a very hard time ignoring the ping of a cell phone when we are maneuvering a two-ton vehicle at 65 miles per hour through three lanes of heavy traffic with our toddler in the back seat.

That ping elicits the same dopamine response as the potato chip you just have to have, or the slot machine lever you are compelled to pull for the umpteenth time. It makes you want to look.

How Cell Phones Are Similar to Slot Machines

David Greenfield, founder of the Center for Internet and Technology Addiction and the research source behind AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign calls the smartphone the "smallest slot machine in the world."

He compares the variable reinforcement of a text, email or social media hit to a slot machine's potential rewards. You don't know when you'll get it. You don't know what you'll get. And you don't know how good it will be. It's the anticipation that generates the high.

In addition to the dopamine surge, there's something else working against us in a different part of our brain, he explained in a CNN interview. The dopamine reaction causes a partial shut-down of our prefrontal cortex - where most of our judgment and reasoning occurs.

So now, we have two areas of our brain working against us as we hurtle down I-95 dodging other smartphone addicts. We have the dopamine devil urging us to "take a quick peek," while our inner voice of reason, which should be slapping our hand, is instead rendered mute.

And most experts agree that the prefrontal reasoning center is not fully developed until around age 25, which explains why the situation is even worse with teens and twentysomethings. (Incidentally, car insurance companies figured this out long ago. Think of what age insurance rates generally drop: 25!)

This texting and driving epidemic is starting to make more sense now isn't it?

While this chemistry lesson is quite fascinating, what can we do to stop this behavior the very next time we get behind the wheel?

EndDD.org reports that over 90% percent of drivers know cell phone distractions are dangerous and find it "unacceptable" to text or e-mail while driving. Yet, 35% of them do it anyway.

4 Easy Ways to Stop Using a Cell Phone While Driving

  1. Turn your phone on silent
  2. Completely turn your phone off
  3. Put your cell out of reach (in the trunk, glove box, or in a purse in the back seat)
  4. Download one of the many apps that helps prevent you from texting while driving (most are free). Some will silence notifications and message people trying to reach you that you are driving.

And by all means, if you are texting someone that you know is driving, stop texting them! If for no other reason, you could be liable for damages if that driver causes an accident because of your text. Some states are currently considering legislation of this nature.

Get a FREE Case Evaluation from NC Personal Injury Lawyers

We have represented far too many clients who were injured - some severely - by distracted drivers. The stories are heartbreaking, and sadly, most could have been prevented.

If you or someone you know was injured by a distracted driver, please have them contact us  or call 1-866-900-7078. We are available 24/7 and will evaluate the situation for FREE and let you know if we think we can help.

P.S. Click here if you want your teen driver to learn what it's really like to drive distracted (but experience it in the safety of a simulated environment). The non-profit Charlotte-based B.R.A.K.E.S (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) offers defensive maneuvering instruction around N.C. and the U.S. Students are taught by former race car drivers, policemen, and other professional drivers.

Contact Information

Raleigh Law Office

5848-100 Faringdon Place
Raleigh, NC 27609
Phone: 919-834-1184
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Durham Law Office

280 South Mangum Street, Suite 400
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: 919-688-4991
Fax: 800-716-7881

Fayetteville Law Office

517 Owen Drive
Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: 910-488-0611
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Charlotte Law Office

1001 Morehead Square Drive, Suite 350
Charlotte, NC 28203
Phone: 704-599-1078
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

New Bern Law Office

1505 South Glenburnie Rd, Unit P
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252-634-9010
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3422

Greenville Law Office

702 G Cromwell Dr.
Greenville, NC 27858
Phone: 252-355-5205
Toll Free: 1-866-780-3227

Greensboro Law Office

300 N. Greene Street, Suite 850
Greensboro, North Carolina 27401
Phone: 336-665-7072
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Goldsboro Law Office

214 South William Street, Suite 3
Goldsboro, NC 27530
Phone: (919)-731-2581
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Henderson Law Office

514 Dabney Drive, Suite 200
Henderson, NC 27536
Phone: 252-492-4600
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Roanoke Rapids Law Office

709 Julian R. Allsbrook Highway
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870
Phone: 252-537-9670
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Rocky Mount Law Office

3202 Sunset Avenue, Suite B
Rocky Mount, NC 27804
Phone: 252-937-4730
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Sanford Law Office

703-B South Horner Boulevard
Sanford, NC 27330
Phone: 919-775-1564
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Wilson Law Office

2315 Airport Blvd Suite A
Wilson, North Carolina 27896
Phone: 252-246-9090
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078

Winston-Salem Law Office

301 N. Main Street, Suite 2409-C
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Toll Free: 1-866-900-7078