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Can showing signs of road rage get you arrested? What Florida law says about that

C. M. Guerrero

It’s OK to admit that you shot someone the bird while you were behind the wheel.

You won’t be fined or arrested just for flipping someone off or yelling, “Idiot!”

But it’s a different story when your anger leads to dangerous acts. And harsh words or vulgur gestures can lead to trouble.

Here’s where Florida law stands on road rage:

Road rage can lead to aggressive driving

Not all aggressive drivers have road rage. Not all drivers with road rage drive aggressively.

Florida law defines aggressive driving as “committing two or more of the following acts simultaneously or in succession”:

Exceeding the posted speed

Unsafely or improperly changing lanes

Following another vehicle too closely

Failing to yield the right-of-way

Improperly passing

Violating traffic control and signal devices

While the law doesn’t specify charges for aggressive driving, the behaviors can land you a ticket, such as speeding or running a red light.

In 2021, 692 people died in fatal crashes in the U.S. because of aggressive driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Some states have harsh punishment on the books for aggressive driving. In Georgia, for example, it could land you up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine, according to AAA. But states also have their own definitions for aggressive driving.

Pulling out a gun when you have road rage

In 2022, 31 road rage incidents in Florida involved a person hit by gunfire, either wounded or killed, according to the Gun Violence Archive.

If the other driver calls police and says you pulled a gun on them, you are the one who will typically be arrested, according to attorney David Katz from the Firearm Firm in Central Florida.

“Right or wrong,” Katz said, “ it is almost always the gun owner arrested.”

If deep breaths don’t work and you show your gun, you could be charged with an improper exhibition of a firearm. It’s a misdemeanor and punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $1,000 fine.

Even worse, you could be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. That’s punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine.