Road Rage: When Extreme Emotion Leads to Serious Crashes

With the increasing stress placed on Tidewater families because of the struggling economy, road rage seems to be on the rise. Drivers can quickly go from being impatient and frustrated to downright aggressive and dangerous, and angry driving means unnecessary crashes and injuries.

What is road rage?

The behavior of drivers experiencing road rage in Virginia is similar to that of aggressive drivers. Excessive speed, swerving in and out of lanes, tailgating, honking, hand gestures, cutting people off—these are all signs that a driver has crossed the line from impatient to overly aggressive.

Why do people submit to road rage?

According to AutoVantage’s 2009 Road Rage survey, the major causes of road rage according to survey respondents are:

  • Bad or careless driving. This includes all of the aforementioned signs of aggressive driving including speeding, tailgating, not using turn signals, and talking on a cell phone.
  • Angry, stressed, frustrated people or those who have had a bad day.
  • Impatient people who are in a hurry or who are running late.
  • Traffic delays from accidents, road construction, inclement weather, poor road conditions.
  • Selfish, inconsiderate, disrespectful drivers who drive as though they own the road.

What driver behaviors trigger road rage?

The AutoVantage survey also asked what other drivers do on the road that can lead to road rage. The survey results include the percent of people who claim they witness a particular behavior every day:

  • Talking on a cell phone (84 percent of drivers claim to see this every day)
  • Speeding (58 percent)
  • Tailgating (53 percent)
  • Cutting over into another lane without notice (43 percent)
  • Texting or emailing while driving (37 percent)
  • Other ‘distracted driving’ activities like reading, shaving, or applying makeup (27 percent)
  • Hitting the brakes too hard (25 percent)
  • Red light running (22 percent)

Behaviors drivers admit to when experiencing road rage

The survey asked drivers how they reacted to perceived road rage perpetrated by other drivers.  Drivers participating in the survey admitted to:

  • Honking their horn at the other driver (43 percent do this every month)
  • Yell and curse at the other driver (36 percent)
  • Wave arms or fist (13 percent)
  • Make obscene gestures (10 percent)
  • Call police to report the other driver’s behavior (7 percent)
  • Smash into the car in front of them (1 percent)

If you have been injured in a crash because of an angry, aggressive driver, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Tavss Fletcher.  We will work with you to ensure that the other driver is brought to justice and that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.


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