According to the American Psychological Association (APA), approximately 50 percent all motorists respond negatively to driving frustrations. In some cases, road rage might be involved. Road rage is not as common as aggressive driving, but when it does happen, the situation can be very dangerous.
Many drivers have little patience. Traffic delays and other minor inconveniences can test drivers’ abilities to keep calm. Some drivers, however, escalate the situation. Some motorists deliberately behave aggressively with the intention to intimidate or even physically harm others. Being cutoff in traffic or being blocked by a driver unaware of one’s intention to pass can be frustrating for any motorist, but for some, this minor offense can trigger dangerous driving behaviors.
In response to some perceived injustice, an angry driver may undertake a vendetta against another motorist they think wronged them in some way. When this happens, serious consequences can result, such as a car accident or an injury.
Road rage is what happens when a driver loses patience with the circumstances around them, and they take action that endangers other road users. Often, the impetus for at road rage incident is an inconvenience that enrages the driver to the point that they become intent on getting revenge. Sometimes, another driver gets involved with the aggressive driver, but often, one motorists targets another road user to teach them a lesson.
Aggressive driving usually refers to reckless behaviors, and road rage incidents have dangerous levels of hostility and intent to cause harm. While there are many similarities between aggressive driving and road rage, neither are acceptable. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) explains that aggressive driving is a dangerous driving behavior that can be considered reckless, such as speeding, tailgating, or blocking another car from passing. Road rage on the other hand, involves an intent to intimidate or hurt another driver. Some examples of road rage include:
According to the NHTSA, about 66 percent of traffic deaths are the result of aggressive driving. It is a significant problem, and many drivers are unable to control their emotions, even though they may be aware of the dangers involved. The APA reports that 30 people are killed in road rage incidents each year, and thousands of more victims are seriously injured. Data from the AutoVantage Club shows that 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm. CNN reported that there is a 500 percent increase in road rage incidents over the last 10 years.
Even though road rage is less common than aggressive driving, it is still dangerous. When encountering an aggressive driver, it is wise to pull over and let them pass. It is better to deescalate the situation.
Impatience is a main reason for road rage incidents, however, in some cases, there are other root cases. Some road rage episodes are isolated occurrences, such as when an overstressed driver is having a bad day. Although having a bad day is not an excuse to act dangerously, emotional stress can impact how a driver conducts themselves behind the wheel. A driver in severe distress due to psychological illness or some other cause can be a danger to all road users.
Other road rage situations are more about poor decision-making. Motorists that are in a rush may make the mistake of thinking that forcing another driver out of their way will help them get to their destination faster. Feeling stressed about getting to their destination as soon as possible can cause anger issues that are misplaced, leading to an unsafe situation.
Another dangerous situation that can lead to a road rage incident is impaired driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can make a motorist more likely to engage in road rage behaviors. When people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they may be more confrontational to those around them. Being impaired is a dangerous mental state for anyone operating a vehicle, making them more prone to react to driving frustrations in ways that put everyone at risk.
If you were seriously injured in an aggressive driving or road rage accident, you should speak to a lawyer right away to discuss your legal options. The Delaware car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help you understand your rights. We understand that aggressive driving and road rage can cause serious accidents, and we will help you figure out your next best steps. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 to schedule a free case consultation today. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.