More and more drivers are experiencing road rage and contributing to auto accidents in the process. In fact, when surveyed, a significant majority of drivers admitted to experiencing road rage at some point while driving and allowing their anger to impact the safety of their driving behaviors. Of course, it is possible that drivers are just becoming more willing to admit to road rage, as opposed to the interpretation that road rage is becoming more common. Yet, the data seems to suggest that road rage is becoming a more common cause of auto accidents. Why is this and is there anything that you can do about it?
Understanding Road Rage and What Causes It
The first step to resolving any problem is trying to fully understand what it is and why it is. Road rage refers to any kind of dangerous behaviors that are engaged in due to a sense of anger, frustration, or – as the term implies – active rage. Such behaviors can include things like shouting at other drivers, speeding, cutting people off, and making obscene gestures, to name a few.
The causes of road rage typically include external factors like traffic, the unsafe driving behaviors of others, and running late for work/school/appointments; though it also includes internal factors, associated with the perceptions and tendencies of any given driver to experience and respond inappropriately to their frustration.
It’s also important to point out the difference between feeling frustration and acting on it. Everyone gets frustrated by traffic, stressed out when they are running late, and annoyed by other drivers who are either being unsafe or driving below the speed limit. This is normal and it doesn’t make you an unsafe driver. However, if you let these frustrations turn into a boiling feeling of rage that inspires you to act in unsafe ways, yourself, then you are experiencing road rage and you are putting everyone, including yourself and your passengers, at risk.
The Data and Facts of Road Rage in the United States
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety completed an extensive survey over the course of a year in 2014, and the date that they uncovered is alarming. 80% of the drivers that they surveyed acknowledged that they had experienced road rage, including aggressive driving behaviors. One quarter of the surveyed drivers admitted to stopping other drivers from changing lanes out of frustration or anger. More than 10% admitted to cutting off other drivers.
Beyond the admissions of drivers experiencing road rage, the statistics of auto accidents caused by road rage are equally unsettling and show that the problem is growing worse. For instance, there were 26 deaths caused by road rage and aggressive driving in 2004, and there were nearly 250 deaths with the same cause in 2013. These numbers should grab your attention and prompt you to focus more on your own emotions and behaviors while driving while also being on the lookout for aggressive driving behaviors from other drivers.
Methods of Preventing or Managing Road Rage While Driving
Rather than insisting that you are not among those who are at risk of succumbing to road rage, you would be wiser to acknowledge the fact that nearly anyone can be susceptible to this with the heavy traffic and pressures of today’s drivers. In doing so, you can be more alert to the signs that you might be affected by road rage and take action to prevent your feelings from presenting themselves as aggressive driving behaviors. Following are some examples of things that you can do to manage or prevent road rage when you are driving and become frustrated:
- Count slowly to ten, or count to 100 by tens. Counting can calm you.
- Pull over and take a few deep breaths. Re-enter traffic with a clearer mind.
- Listen to music that is calming and relaxing.
- Express frustration in an intentionally calm voice, to yourself or passengers.
These are just a few examples of things that might help you to avoid doing anything that you could end up regretting due to the frustration you’re feeling in traffic. If you encounter road rage in other drivers, you should avoid eye contact, allow them to pass or change lanes, and keep your distance as much as you can. Avoid responding with road rage yourself.
Have You Been Injured by a Road Rage Auto Accident?
If you’ve been in an auto accident that was caused by someone else’s road rage in Georgia, contact the dedicated Georgia auto accident attorneys at the Law Office of John B. Jackson. We’ll provide a free consultation and help you to recover the compensation that you are owed.