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"Road Rage" happens more often than you think, study shows

(KY3)
Published: Jul. 14, 2016 at 4:06 PM CDT
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There’s apparently lots of steam getting released on our roadways and a new study indicates there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says nearly 8 out of 10 U.S. drivers it surveyed admit expressing anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year. That includes either following too closely, yelling at another driver, cutting them off or making angry gestures.

And an estimated 8 million drivers engaged in more extreme behavior that might be considered "road rage," including bumping or ramming a vehicle on purpose or getting out of their cars to confront another driver.

Sociologists say they're not surprised that the most aggressive and aggrieved drivers are young men ages 19 to 39. And male drivers are three times more likely than women to have gotten out of a car to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.

According to the study, here's the summary of what's going on out there.

Purposefully tailgating: 51 percent (104 million drivers)

Yelling at another driver: 47 percent (95 million drivers)

Honking to show annoyance or anger: 45 percent (91 million drivers)

Making angry gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)

Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)

Cutting off another vehicle on purpose: 12 percent (24 million drivers)

Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)

Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)

Nearly 2 in 3 drivers believe that aggressive driving is a bigger problem today than three years ago, while nine out of ten believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

Aggressive driving and road rage varied considerably among drivers:

Male and younger drivers ages 19-39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. For example, male drivers were more than three times as likely as female drivers to have gotten out of a vehicle to confront another driver or rammed another vehicle on purpose.

Drivers living in the Northeast were significantly more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily than people living in other parts of the country. For example, drivers in the Northeast were 30 percent more likely to have made an angry gesture than drivers in other parts of the country.

Drivers who reported other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding and running red lights, also were more likely to show aggression. For example, drivers who reported speeding on a freeway in the past month were four times more likely to have cut off another vehicle on purpose.

“There will always be things that can cause frustration with other drivers when you’re behind the wheel, said Amy Stracke, AAA’s Managing Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy. “However, it’s important they don’t get in the way of good decision making and distract you from getting to your destination safely.”

AAA offers these tips to help prevent road rage:

Don’t Offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something you have done.

Be Tolerant and Forgiving: Don’t let emotions interfere by assuming the other driver intentionally did something to offend.

Do Not Respond: Avoid eye contact, don’t make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 9-1-1 if needed.

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