If people seem more stressed and quick to anger, you’re probably not wrong. Recent data shows that 82% of drivers say they’ve engaged in at least one road rage incident or episode of aggressive driving in the past year. That comes as no surprise to an experienced car accident lawyer, because we see the results of dangerous driving every day.
Of course, not all types of aggressive driving and road rage are equally dangerous. Here’s a more specific breakdown of the types of risky driving that are most common, and what drivers think about those actions.
What is Road Rage?
Road rage is angry, aggressive, dangerous behavior on the road. There’s no one generally accepted definition of exactly what actions constitute road rage or aggressive driving. For purposes of this study, The Zebra provided a high-level definition and a list of behaviors that fit the category.
Researchers defined road rage as “taking aggressive driving behaviors to the extreme” with actions such as:
- Making angry or obscene gestures
- Yelling or cursing at another driver or pedestrian
- Throwing objects
- Bumping or ramming another vehicle intentionally
- Sideswiping another vehicle
- Forcing another driver off the road
- Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver
- Getting in a physical fight with another driver
Aggressive driving was defined as “any deliberate unsafe driving behavior,” and includes such actions as:
- Speeding in heavy traffic
- Cutting off another driver on purpose
- Weaving in and out of traffic
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Blocking other cars from passing or changing lanes
- Running a red light or disobeying a traffic signal on purpose
- Honking to show anger or frustration
How Often Are Drivers Aggressive?
Rates of several aggressive driving behaviors were quite high. For example:
- 59% of survey respondents said they’d honked their horn to show anger or frustration in the past year
- 45% reported changing lanes without signaling
- 33% reported speeding in heavy traffic
While the numbers for most road rage incidents are lower, they are alarmingly high when you consider how dangerous they are. For instance:
- 42% reported yelling or cursing at another driver or pedestrian
- 38% reported making angry or obscene gestures
- 7% got out of a vehicle to confront another driver
- 6% reported throwing objects
- 6% reported getting into a physical altercation with another driver
- 5% reported sideswiping another vehicle
- 5% reported bumping or ramming another vehicle
- 5% forced another driver off the road
While the percentages for some of the more dangerous behaviors are small, consider what they mean in terms of the number of drivers on the road. For example, if 5% of Florida’s more than 15 million licensed drivers have intentionally sideswiped another vehicle in the past year, that’s more than 750,000 incidents.
These are just the behaviors that drivers admitted to. The survey also asked about incidents respondents had witnessed. 87% said they’d seen at least one other driver distracted by a phone or device in the past year, and half said they saw this type of distraction every day. Still, just 42% admitted to engaging in those behaviors. Similarly, more drivers said they’d seen someone else engage in aggressive driving or road rage than admitted to doing so themselves.
Drivers Know Aggressive Driving Is Dangerous
The study above isn’t the only one tracking aggressive driving. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety publishes an annual Traffic Safety Culture Index.
89% of respondents to that survey said they believed aggressive driving was very or extremely dangerous, and another 8% called it moderately dangerous. 52% said those driving aggressively were somewhat likely or very likely to be apprehended. More than 65% said those close to them would completely disapprove of aggressive driving and more than 29% said those close to them would somewhat disapprove. Still, more than 21% of the same respondents admitted to having engaged in aggressive driving behaviors at least once in the past 30 days.
This study broke running a red light out into a separate category. The results there were similar. 83% said running a red light was very or extremely dangerous, and another 12% said it was moderately dangerous. 54% said a driver running a red light was very or somewhat likely to be apprehended, and 61% said the people close to them would completely disapprove. Despite those beliefs, more than 24% said they’d run a red light at least once in the past 30 days. More than 10% said they’d done so a few times in the past month.
Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Cause Accidents
These increasingly common behaviors on the road are dangerous. The study above shows that most drivers are aware of the danger, and perceive a high probability of being caught. But, many of those same drivers continue to take the risk.
Staying safer on the road is simple, if not easy: just don’t engage in dangerous activities like tailgating, cutting off other drivers, disregarding traffic signals, or attempting to push other drivers off the road. You should also stay vigilant for this type of behavior on the road and keep your distance from dangerous drivers.
Unfortunately, as long as some drivers continue to engage in aggressive driving and road rage incidents, accidents will happen. Aggressive driving is negligent driving, and negligent drivers are responsible for their actions. If you’ve been in an accident because another driver sideswiped you, ran a red light and collided with your vehicle, or even rammed you intentionally in anger, you deserve fair compensation for your injuries. You should talk to a Florida car accident attorney right away.
Consult an Auto Accident Lawyer at Harrell & Harrell
We know the challenges that follow a car accident or other serious injury. When you hire an auto accident attorney at Harrell & Harrell, we’ll put our many years of personal injury experience to work for you. To learn more about how we can help you pursue fair compensation after an aggressive driving accident or other motor vehicle accident, call 904-251-1111 or fill out our contact form.