How often does road rage occur? Are there things motorists can do to protect themselves against a driver who has lost their cool? It is estimated that nearly 80% of drivers exhibit some form of aggressive driving behavior. Each year, nearly 8 million drivers in the US act upon their urge to rage behind the wheel. These actions can range from repeated honking of the horn all the way up to running another driver off the road. Road rage is a long-standing problem and motorists should take active measures to police their own behaviors and stay clear of other drivers whose emotions are getting the better of them.
Common Road Rage Behaviors
Aggressive behaviors behind the wheel can include blocking another driver from changing lanes, tailgating to force the driver to change lanes, passing on the median, speeding, yelling, and signaling via not-so-polite hand gestures.
Speeding is the most common aggressive driving behavior and it's estimated that approximately 33% of motor vehicle fatalities are the result of speeding. Studies conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicate that as many as 50% of drivers exceed posted speed limits by more than 15% each month.
AAA study data published in 2016 showed that 104 million, or 51% of drivers deliberately tailgated. A further 95 million, or 47% of drivers yelled at another driver. Similarly, 91 million, or 45% used their horn to demonstrate their annoyance at another driver. The study also showed that 67 million, or 33% of drivers made angry hand gestures.
Less common and significantly more dangerous aggressive driving behaviors can include ramming, sideswiping, or the brandishing of a weapon. It is estimated that up to 2% of drivers who are "raging" attempt to run the target of their rage off the road. Studies conducted in the early 2000's showed that 37% of road rage incidents involved the brandishing of a firearm.
AAA data from 2016 showed that 7.6 million, or 4% of drivers left their vehicle to confront another driver, and that 5.7 million, or 3% of drivers deliberately bumped or rammed another vehicle. These actions are not only traffic infractions, individuals who engage in these behaviors are often committing a criminal offense.
Staying Safe on the Road
Drivers who encounter a raging driver should avoid making eye contact and should avoid responding to aggression with aggression. Staying calm is the key to staying safe. Whenever possible, it is advisable to let the other driver pass and give them a wide berth. Forgiveness for rude behavior is always better than becoming a fatality.
When warranted, individuals should allow the vehicle to pass and take down their license plate so that the incident can be reported to law enforcement. If a raging driver attempts to force a confrontation, law enforcement should be contacted immediately and drivers should follow their instructions.
Call in the Bull to take on the aggressive driver who caused your injuries. Our attorneys represent road rage victims and their surviving family members in Kansas, Illinois, Texas, Nebraska, and Missouri. You can call us at 1-800-241-BRAD, or call us on or local line at 316-684-4400 to speak with an attorney. You can reach Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can call Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237. You can call from Western Kansas at 620-THE-BULL.