Increase in Road Rage Accidents
Written by Greg on October 26, 2014
Anyone that has been on the road has faced road rage in one form or another. Inappropriate hand gestures, yelling, and other aggressive displays can often be the direct result of going too slow, cutting someone off, or committing other atrocities that are simply a part of day-to-day life on the roadway. However, despite the fact that many incidents are minor, road rage can often lead to major accidents and fatal situations.
According to the research conducted by the American Psychological Association, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that between 1990 and 1996, road rage related accidents contributed to 218 deaths and 12,610 injuries. Since then, the research has showed that road rage accidents have increased 7% each year since. Past research has proven to be true, as today, 66% of all traffic accidents are caused by some form of aggressive driving.
The American Psychological Association points out that aggressive drivers will often commit the following acts associated with road rage:
- Engage in hostile, aggressive thinking. Drivers that engage in road rage will often report that they held disbelieving thoughts about other drivers that were not confirmed. For instance, believing that other drivers were out to “get them.” This led to an increase of retaliatory thoughts.
- Take more risks while on the road. On average, studies have shown that high-anger drivers are more likely to engage in riskier behaviors than the average drivers. This includes tailgating, speeding, rapidly switching lanes, or disobeying traffic laws and signs.
- Get angry at a much faster rate, and behave more aggressively. High-anger drivers often report committing more aggressive actions while driving; including, but not limited to: name-calling and swearing, yelling or honking in anger, or even seeking out ways to physically harm the other driver.
- Experience more anxiety or stress. Drivers who experience the most road rage are generally those that have anxiety or stress from other day-to-day factors such as from work or school. Thus, these drivers will not deal with this initial anxiety, but will take it out on other drivers.
According to the National Safety Council, aggressive driving has been increasing because of the following factors:
- Lack of responsible driving behavior. Educational resources are often lax when it comes to teaching about responsible driving habits. As the National Safety Council points out, too much emphasis is placed on individualism rather than community and thus, many drivers treat the roadway like a competitive sport.
- Reduced levels of enforcement. Unfortunately, many jurisdictions in the country have cut back on traffic enforcement due to budget cuts. This takes away the perceived threat that traffic violations usually represent.
- More travel and congestion. According to the National Safety Council, the number of drivers has increased drastically, while the number of available roads has increased less than 1%, causing more congestion and more headaches for drivers.
All of these factors have led to an overall increase of road rage. Remember, when you are out on the road, use caution and follow the best practices of the rules of the road.
Drive friendly; you will arrive safely and with a lot less stress.