Road rage is a significant problem in Canada. The outcomes of road rage include threats, insults, violence, mischief, injuries and even death. This article will explore what road rage is and the legal consequences of road rage in Canada.


What is Road Rage?

Road rage generally refers to aggressive or violent behaviour exhibited by drivers in response to perceived offences or frustrations while on the road. Road rage can involve a number of different behaviours, including:

  • aggressive honking;
  • gesturing;
  • tailgating, or following another driver too closely;
  • brake checking;
  • throwing objects;
  • displaying or brandishing a weapon;
  • cutting another driver off;
  • chasing another driver;
  • speeding excessively;
  • running through red lights;
  • verbal confrontations, or threatening and exchanging insults with another driver;
  • physical altercations, or pushing and striking another driver or their vehicle; and
  • deliberately causing a collision.

There are a number of factors that contribute to road rage. These include stress, frustration, and anger. Road rage can also be exacerbated by traffic congestion, bad weather, and long commutes.


Is Road Rage a Crime?

Road rage itself is not explicitly defined as a specific criminal offence under Canadian law. However, many of the aggressive and violent behaviours associated with road rage are crimes. These offences may include:

  • Dangerous Driving: Engaging in driving behaviour that poses a significant risk to the safety of others, such as excessive speeding, reckless maneuvers, or deliberately causing collisions.
  • Assault: Physically attacking or threatening another person during a road rage incident, which can be charged as assault.
  • Assault With A Weapon: Using one’s vehicle as a weapon in the course of an assault is assault with a weapon.
  • Assault Causing Bodily Harm: Assaulting someone and causing them any injury is assault causing bodily harm.
  • Aggravated Assault: Assaulting someone and causing them serious injury or endangering their life is aggravated assault.
  • Hit and Run: Hitting the other driver’s vehicle and then leaving the scene of the accident.
  • Mischief: Intentionally damaging or vandalizing another person’s vehicle or property, such as damaging the windshield or side mirror.
  • Uttering Threats: Making threats to cause harm or kill another person.
  • Criminal Negligence Causing Injury: Driving in a manner that is negligent and injuring someone.
  • Criminal Negligence Causing Death: Driving in a negligent way and causing a death, such as striking a third party or pedestrian during a road rage incident.
  • Murder/Manslaughter: Dangerous driving where the driver causes death may be charged as murder or manslaughter, depending on the circumstances.

Many provincial statutes also have traffic laws that prohibit driving associated with road rage. In British Columbia, the Motor Vehicle Act (MVA) contains several sections that are applicable to road rage and aggressive driving behaviours. While road rage itself may not be explicitly mentioned, the following sections of the MVA address various actions that can be associated with road rage incidents:

  • Section 68 – Hit and Run: Prohibits failing to stop or provide information after an accident.
  • Section 125 – Traffic Control Signal: Prohibits failing to follow a traffic control signal.
  • Section 128 – Yellow Light: Prohibits failing to stop for a yellow light.
  • Section 129 – Red Light: Prohibits failing to stop for a red light.
  • Section 144 – Careless Driving: Prohibits driving carelessly and without reasonable consideration for other persons using the road.
  • Section 145 – Slow Driving: Prohibits driving a motor vehicle at so slow a speed as to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
  • Section 146 – Speeding: Prohibits speeding above a certain limit.
  • Section 148 – Excessive Speeding: Prohibits driving a vehicle at speeds greater than 40km/h over the applicable speed limit.
  • Section 151 – Illegal Lane Change: Requires drivers to only change lanes when it is safe and to signal their intent to do so.
  • Section 162 – Following Too Closely: Prohibits following a vehicle too closely in light of the flow of traffic.
  • Section 187 – Stopping on a Highway: Specifies prohibitions on stopping, parking, or leaving a vehicle on a highway.
  • Section 214.2 – Use of Electronic Device: Prohibits using an electronic device while driving, including taking pictures or videos.


What are the Legal Consequences of Road Rage?

When road rage results in unlawful acts, there can be a number of legal consequences.

First, there can be criminal charges that can lead to a criminal record, fines, driving prohibitions and jail.

Second, the Superintendent of Motor Vehicles may also separately issue administrative driving prohibitions.

Third, there can be civil and insurance consequences. An offender may be sued civilly for property damage or bodily injury.

Fourth, there can be various charges under a provincial or territorial statute. These charges will depend on the nature of the driving behaviour and will carry fines, demerit points and may result in a number of tickets.



If you are being investigated or have been charged with an offence related to road rage, call the experienced lawyers at Filkow Law for legal advice.