Anger, Aggression, and Road Rage, Oh My!

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July 20, 2016 by Minuteman Trucks

According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year. Perhaps one of the most alarming findings of the study was that about 8 million U.S. drivers engaged in dangerous or extreme examples of road rage, such as purposefully ramming other vehicles or exiting the vehicle to confront other drivers. Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic, and daily stress from life can turn minor frustration into dangerous road rage, explains Jurek Grabowski, director of research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.


A significant number of drivers have engaged in angry and aggressive behaviors over the past year:

  • Purposefully tailgating: 51% (104 million drivers)
  • Yelling at another driver: 47% (95 million drivers)
  • Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45% (91 million drivers)
  • Making angry gestures: 33% (67 million drivers)
  • Preventing another vehicle from changing lanes: 24% (49 million drivers)
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12% (24 million drivers)
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another vehicle: 4% (7.6 million drivers)
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3% (5.7 million drivers)


Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

  • Young, male drivers between the ages 19-39 are more likely to engage in aggressive behavior (e.g. they are three times more likely than a female to exit the vehicle to confront another driver or ram another on purpose).
  • Drivers in the Northeast are more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily (30% more likely to make angry gestures than drivers in any other part of the country).
  • Drivers display unsafe behavior such as speeding and running red lights were more likely to show aggressive. For example, drivers that reported speeding on the freeway were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle purposefully.

“It is normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we cannot let our emotions lead to destructive choices” says Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “Do not risk escalating a frustrating situation as you do not know what the other driver will do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely.”

AAA offers the following tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don’t Offend: Never force another driver to change speed or direction. This includes forcing another driver to use brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.
  • Be Tolerant and Forgiving: Keep in mind that others may be having a bad day. Assume that it’s not personal and keep a level head.
  • Do Not Respond: Avoid making eye contact, do not make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle, and contact 9-1-1 if needed.


This article is sourced from Automotive Fleet


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