The Cost of Road Rage and Aggressive Driving

I missed work yesterday because I was a victim of road rage (ironically, after I wrote about safe driving last week). Someone felt it was acceptable to block two lanes of a three lanes highway, get out of his car, open my door and start beating me. As the closing blow he slammed the door in my face and left a huge dent on my door with a swift kick. The reason? I didn’t let him merge back onto the highway after he sneaked onto the entrance ramp to selfishly pass about a dozen cars in front of him.

It could have been a lot worse…

I am very thankful that it wasn’t more than a few bruises and the dented door. I ran the event through my head a few times and things could have been a lot worse.

It’s amazing how things have changed over the years. In New York City, there isn’t much give and take on the road anymore. There are a lot of selfish and “above the law” drivers. And road rage is a major epidemic here. This is one of many factors that make me want to leave New York City for a nicer, more peaceful, and less crowded “home.”

The cost of today’s incident…

So far, I have to say that I am very lucky. And I’ll explain why.

  • Missed work — I missed work for the day, but because I am a salaried employee, I didn’t lose any money. I just asked for a personal day off to clean up the mess.
  • Car repair — I visited a couple of body shops and was quoted anywhere from $500 to $1,200 for the repair. Fortunately, I ran into Gar of Castle Collision. He offered to pop the dent just to see how it would look. I was pleasantly surprised by the result. The damage is now nothing more than a tiny dimple.
  • Medical expenses — Good thing my assailant wasn’t a skillful attacker, so I only ended up with a sore and slightly bruised left arm and side. I also turned down the 911 operator’s offer to send an ambulance, since I didn’t need it and it would cost a few hundred dollars.

The mental consequences…

The worst things out of all this are the mental consequences. I am concerned about what will happen over the next few days, weeks, or even years. I had a bad experience with car and lawsuit before. A couple years ago, my dad was driving my car to the pool and was struck by a car that ran a red light. Incredibly, we received a lawsuit letter from the other driver almost three years later. Luckily, AllState did a great job of protecting my interest.

In closing…

I’d like to remind my readers to drive carefully, take it easy, be safe, and always lock your doors. There are a lot of crazy people out there and it’s better to be the “giver” and avoid this type of situations.

About the Author

By , on Apr 30, 2008
Pinyo
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (35 Comments)

  1. John L says:

    I was at a red light last year. Car behind me expected me to run the red light. When I stopped for the red light he exploded. Got out of his car and tried tearing my driver side door off. Smashed my window and spit on my face then tried punching me. And all this for stopping at a red light (isn’t that what you’re suppose to do)!? I floored the gas pedal and got out of there.

    I considered getting a gun but now carry a medium size bottle of police grade pepper spray in the car.

  2. Pinyo says:

    @Kevin – Yep, I got his plate, year, make, model, color… 🙂

  3. Kevin says:

    Wow… did no one get the plate number? No one stopped to help?

  4. Pinyo says:

    @FFB – “Where is a cop when you need one, right?” Yeah, that’s usually the case for me too, but this time, I was very impressed with the response time. Two police cruisers were there within a few minutes of calling 911.

  5. Glen Craig says:

    Driving in New York can indeed be crazy at times. Fortunately for you there was little damage. Like you said it easily could have been worse. Hopefully with the info you gave the police they can find the person. He deserves to be arrested for assault! Things like this make me also think about leaving NYC. It’s such a surprise in other locales to see drivers giving other drivers and pedestrians the right of way almost all of the time. In NYC there are plenty out there who drive with blinders on and only see where they need to go; anything else is an affront on them. Sounds like you did the right thing. I’ve been in similar situations and I always think I should have done more but then I realize I would have only made the situation worse.

    Where is a cop when you need one, right? (Not to knock NYC police but it’s Murphy’s Law for me that there’s never one around when you need one).

  6. Wow!

    Good for you for getting the SH’s license number. I hope you will press charges and the SOB will end up where he belongs, in jail.

    You were lucky nothing worse happened. Here in the Wild West, people are shot with some regularity. I don’t carry a gun in my car because of the volatility of the whole driving situation–people are so aggressive I might shoot someone myself. A year or two back, some guy forced a woman off an freeway ramp, reached into her car, grabbed her little dog, and threw it into the oncoming freeway traffic. This is the kind of people you’re dealing with.

    Rather than take up space here, I’m linking to this article in a post with seven strategies to help keep yourself safe on the road.

    Meanwhile, glad you’re OK. Keep your doors locked out there!

  7. Jeannee says:

    My dear online friend, I am very sorry this happened to you!!! (((( )))

    Several years ago now, I needed a caretaking break, and I went for several days to a peaceful Jersey Shore town. Ocean Grove is often called, tongue in cheek, “Ocean Grave”, for many senior citizens live there … As I went to drive out the main road to return to my chaotic life, there was such a senior driver ahead of me. Would you believe – the woman directly behind him jumped out of her car – yes it was a woman! – and started beating him and trying to drag him through the open window! I was so astonished I couldn’t even remember I had a cell phone, but what I did do was lean on my car horn until the firefighters sitting outside looked over and went – “what the hell?!” – and ran over there …

    Life is more often a Sopranos episode, than an I love lucy!

  8. Kris says:

    Pinyo, that’s nuts. I’m happy you’re all right. Please keep us updated on what comes out of the situation.

  9. RC says:

    Pinyo- Glad to hear you are doing OK, it could have been much worse.
    It truly is a crazy world we live in.
    Take care
    -RC

  10. Pinyo says:

    @Shanti — “Sean and his friends, all of whom carry guns”

    I think that in itself is scary. I am not judging Sean and his friends, but I personally would not carry a gun.

    Thank you for thought 🙂

    @Broke Grad Student — I ran into that situation once or twice myself. A suburban was trying to overrun my car when I pulled out behind a double parked car into his lane. He was angry that he didn’t speed up fast enough to block me in.

    @Shawna — Wow, I’ll remember to make sure my thank you waves look clean in the future. That’s scary.

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