Road rage: The dangers of aggressive driving

Staying calm while behind the wheel can be difficult at times for many drivers in New Jersey and across the nation. Road rage is not uncommon. More than 80% of American drivers admit that at some point within the past year, they have felt road rage, according to AAA.

Road rage can have disastrous consequences. Over a five-year period, aggressive driving behaviors were involved in 56% of fatal accidents, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Identifying the signs of road rage

Angry motorists may exhibit certain aggressive driving behaviors that can endanger the lives of others on the road. According to the Insurance Information Institute, these hazardous behaviors include the following:

  • Passing where prohibited, speeding or racing other vehicles
  • Tailgating or following too closely
  • Failing to yield to other drivers’ right of way, traffic lights and pedestrian crosswalks
  • Yelling, excessive honking or using inappropriate hand gestures
  • Blocking other drivers from switching lanes
  • Cutting off other drivers

In some extreme cases, drivers with road rage may exit their vehicles and approach other motorists with the intent to harm them. Angry drivers may hit into other cars on purpose as well.

Minimizing the risk to other drivers

Depending on the circumstances of the situation, a speeding driver or a motorist cutting off another car can cause a serious collision. It is critical for drivers who witness this type of behavior to alert law enforcement as soon as possible. Rather than become involved in an altercation, drivers should avoid making eye contact, racing or exchanging words with an angry motorist. This may escalate the issue. Law enforcement officers, on the other hand, are more likely to handle the issue in a safe way.