Jammed highways and traffic gridlocks are the source of much irritation to many drivers, contributing to aggressive driving incidents which can lead to serious accidents, and ultimately, road rage.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), road rage “involves a criminal act of violence, whereas aggressive driving can range from tailgating to speeding to running red lights.” The NHTSA estimates that aggressive driving accounts for about one-third of all crashes and about two-thirds of the resulting fatalities.
Road rage can also cause problems with your liability coverage if you’re involved in an auto accident. Many car insurance policies exclude road rage as a covered event, and consequently, won’t pay for any damages resulting from a road rage incident.
A study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that aggressive behaviors such as tailgating, illegal passing, or erratic lane changing are contributing factors in up to 56% of fatal crashes. Another AAA Foundation study examined more than 10,000 road rage incidents committed over seven years – responsible for at least 218 murders and another
12,610 injury cases.
Road rage is increasing
• 51% – the increase in road rage incidents since 1990
• 83% – percentage of commercial drivers who will most likely be involved in a road rage incident
• Males 19 and under are the worst offenders
So, what can you do to keep from becoming involved in a road rage incident?
Follow these tips and you’ll decrease your chances of facing a dangerous situation:
• Plan ahead – give yourself extra time to reach your destination.
• Don’t glare at annoying drivers.
• Don’t flash offensive gestures.
• Don’t flash your headlights.
• Don’t tailgate.
• If someone is tailgating you, when it’s safe, move out of the way and let them pass you.
• Don’t blast your horn because a driver didn’t move the second the light changed.
• Don’t drive slowly in the fast lane.
• Don’t block driveways or double park your car.
• Don’t use a handicapped spot if you’re not actually handicapped; that’s also bad karma.
• If you accidently cut someone off, let them know you made a mistake – smile and offer a friendly, “I’m sorry!” hand gesture.
• If a driver rolls down his window and starts yelling at you, do not respond.
o Keep your window rolled up – and avoid eye contact.
o Get moving – and get away as soon as you can.
o Don’t get out of your car.
• If an angry driver follows you, don’t drive home.
o Stay on well-traveled roads. Do NOT pull off onto a side street.
o Find a cop and get his attention – or call 911 on your cell phone.
o Find a busy public place where people are out and about. If you’re still followed, attract attention by honking your horn.
Top 10 Cities for Road Rage
1. New York City
3. San Francisco
4. Los Angeles
6. Washington, D.C.
Don’t let a road rage incident raise your auto insurance premium – or your heart rate. Stay calm and stay safe.
Have you ever encountered a road rage incident? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.