While possibly every Tennessee driver has given in to aggressive behavior such as speeding or ignoring a traffic signal at least once, road rage is not quite so widespread. However, more and more motorists are finding that they are losing their tempers to a degree that they may not experience when not behind the wheel. According to WebMD, this is not simply a perceived phenomenon; road rage has deep psychological roots.
One of the causes of this level of anger is crowding. Scientists say that the sheer volume of traffic can lead to enough stress to send some people spiraling into rage. The violence that typically follows is in part due to the fact that when people are in their vehicles, they do not always see each other as individuals. Instead, they see vehicles where, in another situation, they would be face to face with another human being. This dehumanization is a major factor in whether an angry driver actually acts on his or her feelings.
Because road rage can lead to violence, many people find themselves facing assault charges after getting into an altercation in their vehicles. FindLaw explains that according to Tennessee Code, a conviction could result in a class A misdemeanor with a fine of as much as $2,500 and a prison sentence of up to one year. However, the prosecutor must prove one of the following:
- The defendant caused bodily injury on purpose
- The defendant intended for the other person to fear bodily injury
- A reasonable person would see the physical contact caused by the defendant as provoking or offensive
Proving intention is often difficult, and this can sometimes be the cornerstone of a defense strategy.