A new study by the AAA Foundation for traffic safety found nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year. The study shows that some drivers even resorted to purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. The director of the research for the AAA Foundation study said “bad traffic and daily frustrations can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage and drivers find themselves lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”
A significant number of U.S. drivers reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year, according to the study’s estimates:
- 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)Drivers living in the Northeast were significantly more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily than people living in other parts of the country. For example, drivers in the Northeast were nearly 30 percent more likely to have made an angry gesture than drivers in other parts of the country. Drivers who reported other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and running red lights, also were more likely to show aggression. For example, drivers who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle on purpose.
- Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of 10 believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety. The data was collected from a national survey of 2,705 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days.
AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:
- Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
- Be Tolerant and Forgiving: The other driver may just be having a really bad day. Assume that it’s not personal.
- Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed. If you are injured in a car accident and believe the cause of the accident was due to another driver’s aggressive driving, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury Law Firm, such as The Mass Injury Group to understand your rights and remedies.