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The Growing Problem of Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Most of us don’t make much of a differentiation between aggressive driving and road rage. For many, it is one in the same. There is a difference, however. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines aggressive driving as operating a vehicle in a way that endangers, or potentially endangers, other people or property. Road rage is an extreme version of  aggressive driving that involves anger or violence.

There is another important distinction. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense; road rage is a criminal offense. This difference is because road rage is considered an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator precipitated by an incident that occurred on a roadway. That can be very serious business.

Aggressive driving is a growing problem with significant consequences. It is estimated that 66% of all fatalities involve aggressive driving. Perhaps, even a more disturbing statistic is that about 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

Other aggressive driving/road rage statistics include:

  • 20% of drivers say they have experienced intense anger when driving in the past year.
  • The three most frequent causes of road rage include distracted driving, tailgating and being cut off.
  • The most common display of road rage is horn honking, followed by rude hand gestures.
  • Surveys indicate that about 40% of us believe that road rage is as dangerous as distracted driving or driving under the influence.
  • In spite of the growing problem of road rage, only 10% of drivers say they have contacted police following a road rage incident.

What is the best way for you to deal with your own road rage? Experts say it may be as simple as finding some of your favorite tunes on the radio. Others suggest taking your mind off the incident and some believe yelling may actually help relieve stress.

For some reason we act far more aggressively in our vehicle than we would in public. We may allow someone ahead of us in the line at the grocery store but heaven forbid they try on the roadway. We are all part of the problem and can all be a part of the solution.

An aggressive driving or road rage incident can affect your driving record and your auto insurance rates. If you feel you may be paying too much, contact one of our independent agents. They can search multiple companies to find coverage and pricing best for you.

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