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Road rage


Answer

There isn't a specific offence of road rage, it's a term that's been used to describe various incidents involving motor vehicles, their drivers and other road users. Road rage has been used to describe anything from verbal abuse and threats to the damage being caused to vehicles and physical violence towards other drivers. Usually, road rage incidents are triggered by an incident that then results in a disagreement between drivers. Rule 147 of the Highway Code states:

Be considerate. Be careful of and considerate towards all types of road users, especially those requiring extra care.

 

  • you must not throw anything out of a vehicle, for example, cigarette ends, cans, paper or carrier bags. This can endanger other road users, particularly motorcyclists and cyclists
  • try to be understanding if other road users cause problems; they may be inexperienced or not know the area well
  • be patient; remember that anyone can make a mistake
  • not allow yourself to become agitated or involved if someone is behaving badly on the road. This will only make the situation worse. Pull over, calm down and, when you feel relaxed, continue your journey
  • Slow down and hold back if a road user pulls out into your path at a junction. Allow them to get clear. Do not over-react by driving too close behind to intimidate them.

 

Shouted/swearing/abusive gestures

If someone has shouted, sworn or made abusive gestures to you then this could constitute a crime but it is very unlikely that a prosecution would take place because there will usually be a lack of evidence e.g. from independent witnesses. Nonetheless, if someone has made a genuine threat against you (this could be considered an assault) or if they have used abuse that you feel was targeted at you because of your race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender, you should report the matter to your local police.

 

Assault

If you have been pushed, punched, kicked or received a genuine threat of violence, we would suggest you report the matter to the local police. If the incident is ongoing and you are in fear for your safety call 999.

 

Damage to your vehicle/property

If your vehicle has been deliberately damaged then this may constitute the offence of criminal damage. You should report such incidents to your local police.

 

Driving offences

A driver involved in a road rage incident may also be guilty of a motoring offence such as careless driving, driving without reasonable consideration for other road users or dangerous driving.

 

General information

Please be aware that in all cases it will depend on the circumstances and available evidence as to what the police can do. In some cases, the reality may be that there is insufficient evidence to prosecute someone.


Answer

In a 'cash for crash' incident, fraudsters deliberately stage or cause a road traffic collision 'accident' for the purpose of financial gain. There are basically three types of 'cash for crash' scams:

  • Staged accidents
  • Ghost accidents
  • Induced accidents

Staged accident
In this type of accident two fraudsters deliberately stage an accident and crash into one another. Alternatively, they may just damage the vehicles with sledgehammers etc., make up an accident scenario and then claim on the insurance.

Ghost accident
In this scam there is no actual accident or damage to vehicles, the accident is purely fabricated on paper.

Induced accident
In an induced incident, the criminals will target an innocent motorist to make them out to be the 'at fault' driver in an accident. The induced incident can take many forms, some of the most common scenarios are explained below:

  • The driver of the vehicle in front suddenly slams their brakes on and you run into the back of it – the driver then insists it's your fault. Some criminals will intentionally disconnect their brake lights so you don't know they're slowing down until it's too late.
  • A driver may flash their headlights for you to pull out of a junction or wave you out of a junction, they then fail to let you out and you collide with them – they deny flashing their lights or inviting you to pull out.
  • A car is stationary in the middle of a quiet road, often at night, you drive up to it wondering what's going on and stop, the driver of the vehicle then suddenly reverses into you and maintains you drove into them.
  • A driver overtakes you and then suddenly swerves in front of you and brakes hard – you collide with the rear of their vehicle and they blame you.

The criminals who set up this type of scam may also be operating in a gang and have witnesses strategically placed on foot or even following in other vehicles, who will stop and say the other driver version of events is correct.

The criminals who cause these incidents usually target their victims and look for people who will be insured and who they perceive won't be too difficult for them to deal with e.g. the elderly, lone females or mums with children. Such incidents are very dangerous because a collision between two vehicles can have serious unforeseen consequences.

Spot the warning signs

  • Be suspicious if a driver appears very calm after a collision and has all their details already written down on a piece of paper.
  • Be suspicious of exaggerated claims e.g. after a very minor collision you receive information from your insurer in relation to high repair costs for damage to the other vehicle when only minor damage was caused, cost of hire cars/vehicle recovery when the other driver left the scene in their vehicle, injuries such a whiplash from a very minor impact, injury to passengers when the other driver was alone etc.
  • Be aware of passengers or the driver in a vehicle you are following looking backwards/paying a lot of attention to your vehicle – they may be weighing up the best time to slam the brakes on and cause an accident.
  • Beware of drivers driving extremely slowly or driving slowly and then suddenly speeding up.
  • Don't assume that when a driver flashes their headlights, invites you to proceed or puts their indicator on that it's safe. Use your judgement and wait to make sure it's safe before you go.

What can you do

  • Be vigilant – it's best to avoid such situations altogether.
  • Don't follow vehicles too closely – leave plenty of room so that in the event of something unexpected happening you can stop safely.
  • Try to think ahead and anticipate the actions of other drivers.
  • Even if you suspect the accident you've been involved in is a scam, you must comply with your legal responsibilities – please see the following link: What are the driver's responsibilities when involved in an accident?
  • Be suspicious and don't get too close to vehicles that have stopped in the road for no reason.
  • At the scene of an accident never admit liability for anything.
  • Get the details of independent witnesses before they have a chance to leave the scene but be aware they may be part of a gang that has set up the scam.
  • Insist on calling the police – 101 for the non-emergency number, 999 if an emergency response is required.
  • If you suspect a scam it's usually best not to challenge the driver of the other vehicle about it there and then.
  • Obtain as much information as you can about the vehicle, passengers (if present), damage to vehicle, location, time, date, weather conditions, witnesses etc.
  • If it is safe to do so, take photographs.
  • Never agree to settle the matter informally.
  • Tell you insurer what has occurred as soon as you can.
  • If you suspect a scam, as well as contacting the police and your insurer, notify the Insurance Fraud Bureau via the link below or by calling the Cheatline on 0800 422 0421

Offences
The offences of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud carry a 10-year prison sentence.

Contact your local police force

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