Aggressive Driving: Do You Have Road Rage?

by Gwen Newell

Road rage is defined as aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists, including rude and verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or non-drivers such as pedestrians in an effort to intimidate or release frustration. In the past year, nearly 80 percent of motorists have expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once – and with millions of Carolinians hitting the roads again for work commutes and post-pandemic vacations, AAA wants to make sure everyone reaches their destinations safely.

Warning motorists of the dangers associated with aggressive driving and road rage plays a major role in not only helping to promote traffic safety but lowering the number of confrontations on the roads as well. Consider the following: approximately eight million U.S. drivers have engaged in extreme examples of road rage within the year, including purposefully ramming another vehicle or getting out of the car to confront another driver. These kinds of dangerous behaviors can potentially lead to very tragic endings.

It is worth noting that aggressive driving, road rage, and other dangerous behaviors vary considerably among drivers. Both male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. For example, male drivers were more than three times as likely as female drivers to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.

To help prevent road rage and promote safe travel, AAA suggests the following:

  • Communicate early and clearly; use signals
  • Do not encroach on another driver’s space
  • Stay to the right – do not block faster traffic in the left passing lane
  • Never cause another driver to have to change their speed or direction (i.e. cut them off)

If you are dealing with confrontation, AAA offers additional tips:

  • Do not respond to the driver; avoid eye contact
  • Do not get out of your vehicle
  • If necessary drive to a busy public place such as a police station or hospital
  • If necessary contact 911 for assistance
  • Remember, you can only control your behavior; behave wisely and make good judgements

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