You’re driving along a familiar Maryland road, minding your own business; suddenly, another vehicle tailgates or cuts you off as the driver hurls curses at you. This is an unfortunately familiar situation for many drivers known as road rage. It’s more common than you might think and is very dangerous for many reasons.
Examples of road rage
Road rage can take on many forms, but all can cause motor vehicle accidents. People are often left injured after encountering a driver in the midst of road rage; in the worst-case scenario, someone can be killed. Speeding, ignoring road signs and signals and disregarding traffic laws are common forms of road rage.
Tailgating is a common practice with drivers who engage in road rage. Passing another vehicle without signaling or when it’s prohibited by traffic laws and cutting off other drivers is also common. Some road rage drivers honk excessively, shout obscenities at other drivers, or flash their lights, including their high beams, to get another driver’s attention. All of these situations make the road a more dangerous place and increase the risk of accidents.
Statistics on road rage
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding is usually the top factor in road rage incidents resulting in fatal crashes. This equates to approximately 56% of such accidents being caused by road rage. Stress was a major factor in road rage accidents in 2021; that year, there was also a 12% increase in such collisions.
Around half of all drivers targeted by individuals engaged in road rage responded in kind. In response to road rage drivers, those targeted claimed to have responded by yelling, honking, flashing their lights, and making gestures.
The best way to respond to a road rage driver is to not respond. Remaining calm and letting them pass if they wish to is a safer way to handle the situation.