80% of Drivers Admit to Experiencing Road Rage While Behind the Wheel
A new study found that around eight in 10 drivers say they experienced feelings of anger, aggression, and road rage while behind the wheel at least once in the past year.
According to a report by the Associated Press, the anger, aggression, and road rage can manifest itself via dangerous driving behaviors like following too closely, yelling at other drivers, cutting other drivers off, or making angry gestures while driving.
In addition to the drivers who engaged in angry behaviors, a total of eight million drivers are reported to have engaged in more extreme behaviors commonly associated with road rage in the past year, including bumping and ramming vehicles on purpose or exiting their own vehicles to confront other drivers.
Drivers who are most likely to engage in road rage behaviors are men between the ages of 18 and 39. Male drivers were three times more likely than women to have engaged in aggressive behaviors while behind the wheel during the past year.
Research shows that aggressive driving and expressing anger behind the wheel contributes to the risk of fatal crashes.
Tips for Avoiding Road Rage in Yourself and Others
Anything that clouds a person’s mind and affects their judgment can increase their risk of having an accident. When most people think of poor judgment and decision-making skills while behind the wheel, they think of drivers who are intoxicated, impaired, or distracted. But anger, aggression, and rage can also affect a driver’s ability to think clearly and make safe and rational decisions.
The best way to deal with road rage is to prevent it from happening altogether. Here are a few tips you can follow to stay calm behind the wheel and avoid any potentially dangerous encounters with other drivers:
- Give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.
One of the major causes of road rage is when drivers are running late and begin to drive aggressively or react angrily towards delays, slower drivers, and interruptions. If you have trouble staying calm when you’re running late or dealing with heavy traffic, do your best to leave early and give yourself more time to reach your destination.
- Avoid using your horn unless absolutely necessary.
Horns can be useful when it comes to alerting other drivers of potential dangers and preventing potential accidents. However, using a horn during a potential road rage incident may only serve to escalate the situation. If possible, try to communicate with other drivers via hand signals, such as waving them through an intersection, instead of using your horn.
- Stay out of the left lane if you’re not using it to pass.
Many drivers who are prone to road rage also engage in other dangerous behaviors, including speeding and weaving in and out of traffic. If you see a vehicle that’s traveling at a high rate of speed behind you on the highway or interstate, move over if you’re in the left lane and allow it to pass. In addition to defusing a potential aggressive-driving situation, moving over is now required by law due to Tennessee’s new “Slow Poke” legislation that took effect on July 1.
- Take alternate routes to avoid heavily congested areas.
If your route to work or school is commonly congested, taking an alternate route can be a good way to reduce feelings of anger and frustration if you have trouble staying calm in heavy traffic. Even if an alternate route adds a few minutes to your commute, avoiding congestion can not only decrease your risk of an accident, but it can also decrease your risk of being involved in a road rage incident.
When you’re behind the wheel, you can only control your own emotions and reactions to the things that occur around you. However, following the tips above will not only make it easier to stay calm during tense situations on the road, but it can also help to defuse angry and aggressive drivers before road rage incidents develop.
If you or a loved one was injured in an accident that was caused by a negligent driver, whether he or she was experiencing road rage, driving while intoxicated or impaired, or engaging in careless behaviors, you may be eligible to file a claim for compensation for things like medicals, lost wages, and pain and suffering. To find out how the Nashville auto accident attorneys at Matt Hardin Law can assist you, dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form.