The daily stress of hectic schedules can be maddening, especially when time is tight and traffic is heavy – and in far too many cases, that stress can prove devastating or even deadly. According to recently released results of a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, upward of 80 percent of US drivers say they’ve expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage. Worse still, some 8 million drivers admit to having engaged in extreme incidents of road rage, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or exiting their own vehicle to confront another driver.
Driver admissions include:
- Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
- Yelling at another driver: 47 percent (95 million drivers)
- Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45 percent (91 million drivers)
- Making angry gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)
- Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)
- Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12 percent (24 million drivers)
- Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)
- Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)
Data shows that the most likely culprits are male drivers, younger drivers between 19 and 39 years of age. In fact, males are three times more likely than female drivers to have exited a car to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle. Lead-footed drivers also are a top risk. Those who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have purposely cut off another vehicle.
“It’s completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Don’t risk escalating a frustrating situation because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely.”
Protect yourself and your family from the potentially devastating consequences of road rage by avoiding maneuvers that may force another driver to change their speed or direction; exercise patience when other drivers are reckless or inconsiderate; and don’t respond when an angry or agitated driver attempts to get your attention. Avoid making eye contact or gestures. If you feel genuinely threatened by another driver’s actions, call 911.
If you or someone you love is involved in a car crash that causes personal injury or property damage due to another driver’s road rage, report the incident to police immediately, get medical treatment and call 800-251-1111 to speak with an auto accident attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.