A recent national television report asserted that road-rage incidents are becoming more common and more deadly, with the latest incident taking place in Pennsylvania, in which a man is alleged to have shot and killed a teenage girl during a traffic merge. Click to watch level-headed advice from your Independent Program Attorney about what to do—and what not to do—in these situations.
Road rage is unfortunately something that we must discuss because it is so prevalent here in Georgia and in the rest of the United States.
Now from a safety perspective, if you are involved in a road-rage incident, seek safety immediately. Call the police. Let them know you’re the victim. Try to find a well-populated, well-lit area. Don’t get out of your vehicle. Wait for the police to come and help you.
And it’s important to call the police as quickly as you possibly can for at least one practical reason. One of the two of you will be considered the aggressor. The other could be considered the victim. And sometimes it’s a situation, where the first person to call the police is considered the victim. Now that may not be right, but the fact is, if you want the police to believe you, better to call them sooner rather than later. And then call your lawyer.
If the other person gets out of his or her vehicle, be prepared to protect yourself, but remember, in Georgia you are justified in the use of deadly force, however, under certain circumstances you may not claim that justification. Number one: If you provoke the other person as an excuse to use deadly force, you can’t use the justification. Number two: If you’re attempting to commit a felony, or you’re fleeing the commission of a felony, and that felony could be terroristic threats, could be aggravated assault, if you have a vehicle, and you threaten someone with your vehicle, which is a deadly weapon, if you pull the weapon out on the highway, and shown it to the other driver, then at that point, the law may not allow you to use the justification. You also cannot use it when you were the primary aggressor, or you were engaged in what the law calls “combat by agreement,” meaning if you’re the aggressor, or the other person attempts to assault you, and you attempt to assault them, if you’re in mutual combat, you cannot use the defensive justification, unless you pull completely out and let the other person know “Hey I’m not fighting you anymore.”
So if you have to protect yourself, protect your party, do so. But just be forewarned, road-rage incidents very hard to determine sometimes who is the initial aggressor, who is the victim. The best-case scenario here: Seek shelter immediately. Seek safety immediately. Call the police as fast as you possibly can. Tell them you’re the victim, and then call your lawyer.