Automotive Safety

Ways to help reduce 'road rage'

Most drivers know “road rage” when they see it. After experiencing some perceived slight, a driver tries to intimidate, threaten, or harm a fellow motorist, often with dangerous behavior such as speeding or tailgating. 

Road rage happens when aggressive driving mixes with anger, and the results can be deadly. In fact, aggressive driving contributes to more than half of fatal crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. And it's not a minor problem: In a recent AAA study, almost 80% of drivers surveyed said they had engaged in angry behavior behind the wheel at least once in the past year. We look at what drivers can do to avoid aggressive driving from others, and avoid becoming aggressive themselves.

Road rage by the numbers

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety studied aggressive driving as part of its annual Traffic Safety Culture Index. Researchers surveyed 2,705 licensed drivers aged 16 and older. Nearly 80% of those drivers admitted to at least 1 aggressive driving behavior in the past year.

 

51% of drivers

admitted to tailgating another driver

47% of drivers

admitted to yelling at another driver

45% of drivers

admitted to honking to show anger

33% of drivers

admitted to making offensive gestures

24% of drivers

admitted they tried to block another driver's lane change

12% of drivers

admitted to cutting off another driver on purpose

4% of drivers

admitted they left their vehicle to confront another driver

3% of drivers

admitted to hitting another vehicle on purpose

 

What you can do

sideMirror

Don't offend

  • Avoid moves that force other drivers to change their speed or direction.

  • When switching lanes, first check that you have space, then use your signal.

  • Move to the right if you’re driving more slowly than surrounding traffic.

  • Avoid tailgating, and slow down if you’re following too closely.
     
speed

Don't engage

  • Steer clear of drivers who are speeding, tailgating, and otherwise behaving aggressively.

  • Avoid making eye contact with angry drivers; they may see it as a challenge.

  • Contact the police if a situation escalates and you feel unsafe.
     
angry

Don't get angry

  • Don’t take another driver’s actions personally.

  • They may be having a bad day, or may not realize they've inconvenienced you.Let go of your pride.

  • “Winning” isn't worth the risk to your safety and the safety of other drivers around you.

  • Seek professional help if you think you have a serious behavioral issue.
 

Information taken from “Prevalence of Self-Reported Aggressive Driving Behavior: United States, 2014,” AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, July 15, 2016.

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