Road rage comes from aggressive driving techniques. The term was initially applied to a roadway incident that occurred in Los Angeles after there was a string of shootings that happened on the local freeway system. It is defined by a traffic offense that is designed to purposely injure someone or something or leaving a vehicle to assault another driver.
Aggressive driving accounts for 2 out of every 3 traffic fatalities that occur.
Road Rage Facts
Most people don’t consider themselves to be an aggressive driver, but a lot of “regular” driving skills actually qualify as driving aggressively. Driving with high beams on 100% of the time, using your phone while you drive, or switching lanes without signaling can all cause road rage. If you’re trying to beat red lights or flash your headlights at drivers who are driving too slowly, then you could be susceptible to road rage.
- 37% of the aggressive driving incidents that occur involve at least one firearm.
- The person who is most susceptible to road rage is a male under the age of 19.
- 1 out of every 2 drivers who are the recipient of an aggressive behavior while they are behind the wheel will respond in kind.
- Over a 7 year study period, there were over 200 murders associated directly to road rage.
- More than 12,000 preventable injuries have occurred because of road rage incidents that have occurred.
- 2% of those who have someone driving around them aggressively have admitted to trying to run that car off of the road.
- 49% of road rage incidents are caused by a distracted driver or someone not paying attention.
- 44% of road rage is trigged by someone getting cut off.
People make mistakes while they are driving. It happens to every driver. You might not see the car coming down the road, forget where your turn was supposed to be, or find yourself in the wrong lane of a freeway when you’re in an unfamiliar city. The problem is that when a driver is trying to correct a mistake and it occurs at the expense of another driver, that other driver takes the situation personally. They get angry, the situation escalates, and before you know it, you’ve got road rage on your hands. The best solution seems to be to forgive first and let it go.
Why Is Road Rage Such a Problem?
- 60% of drivers in a recent survey stated that they viewed aggressive, unsafe driving by others as a major personal threat to their families – this included speeding.
- 30% of drivers said that they felt like their personal safety was at risk on the road within the last month.
- Aggressive drivers are more likely to drive without a seat belt and they’re also more likely to drink and drive.
- Only 14% of drivers felt it was “extremely dangerous” to drive 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.
- 62% of drivers who fit into the category of an unsafe driver stated that they had not been stopped by a police officer within the past year.
- 98% of drivers believe that it is important to take measures to reduce the prevalence of speeding and unsafe driving.
- The #1 method of reducing unsafe driving, according to an NHTSA survey, was to increase the amount of police that are assigned to traffic control.
There needs to be a measure of personal responsibility that is associated with how we each drive. If we don’t want road rage to occur, then we must drive in a proactive way in order to prevent these incidents from occurring. With 86% of people finding it safe to drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit, most of us are contributing to the problem instead of working to find a way to stop it. Police patrols would be helpful, of course, and so would higher tickets and maybe even higher insurance rates, but that won’t stop everyone. The bottom line is this: until people start caring for others as much as they care about themselves on the road, then there will continue to be annual increases in road rage.
Why Are Road Rage Incidents Increasing?
- More than 90% of people are driving to work every day in some form of a commute.
- 1 out of 3 drivers that live in one of the largest cities in the United States spends over 40 hours per year being stuck in a traffic jam.
- Because of the extra traffic on the road, AAA estimates a 7% annual increase in the amount of road rage every year.
- Only 32% of people believe that a public awareness campaign against road rage would actually be effective.
- 56% of men state that they experience road rage from another driver every day.
- The percentage of women that said they experience road rage on a daily basis: 44%.
- No official government agency keeps track of official road rage statistics. Much of this data comes from 1997 or earlier.
Up to 1,500 people are killed or injured in road rage incidents every year. There are some rare lunatics on the road that cause a number of tragic stories, but the issue involves anger and mental disorders while on the road. One in particular, called intermittent explosive disorder [IED], causes a person’s anger to go from 0 to 60 instantly. It is estimated that 7% of the American population has this disorder, which means there is the potential of 16 million drivers on the road right now that are driving with simmering anger. When that anger surfaces at the slightest offense, then the potential for road rage to occur next is greatly increased. In looking at IED, less than 3 out of 10 of those who have it will ever receive treatment for their anger. That’s why personal responsibility seems to be the key to preventing an incident before it can spiral out of control.