Pensioner Patricia Pearson was left with deep cuts on her head and face after Usman Yasin overtook and blocked the road before smacking her in the face.
She had been driving to visit her husband in his care home.
Magistrates at Burton upon Trent jailed him for 16 weeks last month, but an appeal judge at Stafford Crown Court has now changed his sentence.
Instead, the father of two was ordered to do 150 hours unpaid community work, banned from driving for two weeks and ordered to pay Mrs Pearson £100 compensation.
Yasin, 30, of Burton, was convicted of common assault.
The court heard how Yasin became increasingly frustrated as he travelled behind Mrs Pearson, maintaining that she had been driving at no more than five mph.
Solicitor Nick Burn told his appeal hearing: ‘The defendant came up behind Mrs Pearson, there was a combination of loud revving and sounding of the horn, clearly impatience on behalf of the defendant.’
Yasin eventually overtook and stopped in front of Mrs Pearson’s car, causing her to brake. She got out, went up to Yasin’s Peugeot and ‘exchanged words’.
Mrs Pearson said: ‘This incident has left me feeling scared and vulnerable. I have always been a strong person, but I was terrified. There was no need for him to do this to me or use the language that he did. I know he may say I shouldn’t have put my hand up to his face, but that was only to stop him using the language he did.”
Mr Burn added ‘Overall, this was an ugly and unpleasant incident to which the appellant reacted with unnecessary force towards an elderly lady.’
Mrs Pearson was on her way to visit her husband in a care home when the incident happened.
But Miss Rebecca Wade, for Yasin, said he had just been to visit his mother who was in hospital with breast cancer.
‘He was clearly irritated at the slow driving and stopping and starting of the complainant. It was she who got out of her car [but] his reaction was completely unjustified and caused her injury which he deeply regrets.’
She said Yasin had never been in trouble before and this was wholly out of character.
‘He has been vilified within the community and while you would expect a significant level of outrage, this has gone beyond, the case has been all over the national press.’
She said if he went to jail, Yasin would lose his job in a fast food restaurant.
In quashing the prison sentence, Recorder Mr Kevin Hegarty QC said: ‘We have looked at the circumstances operating on your mind at the time and the references from your friends. We have regard to your hard-working nature, holding down two jobs, and we have come to the conclusion that the appropriate penalty is a community order.’
Yasin had earlier told the magistrates: ‘I am very remorseful. She’s the same age as my grandma. If I had taken a second to think and had just driven on I wouldn’t be here today.’