In December 2015, Longview Regional Hospital treated a victim who apparently had been shot during a road rage incident. An argument that started over the use of high beams escalated into two shots fired at the victim. Road rage statistics are quite alarming, with more than 37% of aggressive driving incidents involving a firearm. Roughly 12,000 reported road-related injuries could have been prevented if the driver(s) had not engaged in road rage behavior.
By now, you probably have a story or two about a “road rager”— and it may have been you doing the raging. Now, more than ever, it’s important for drivers to recognize the severity of this phenomenon: there are 1500 people being killed or injured every year from road rage incidents. We should recognize that we, as a nation, have a problem, and try to understand why these incidents keep on happening.
So as you prepare to go out into the mad dash of life, or before you decide to cut another car off — who very well may have cut you off first— it’s important to realize that one moment of agitation on the road is not worth someone getting hurt or losing their life. The best response is to let it go, and this is especially important to remind yourself when you have your kids in the car with you.
Let’s take a look at why and when road rage typically happens.
Where Does Road Rage Come From?
More than 40% of people report experiencing road rage on a daily basis, and the numbers are only expected to increase because of the elevated amount of stress people endure from traffic and work. With more than 90% of people commuting to work, traffic is getting worse by the year. One interesting fact is that road rage is worse in the month September, the month that kids go back to school. School buses hit the road, traffic increases once again, and everyone’s still trying to figure out their routes. Mix this with work stress, family stress, and anger management issues and you get the perfect breeding ground for road rage.
Because you want to do your best to avoid escalated situations, it’s important for you to know what type of driving situations precipitate road rage. This includes distracted driving, tailgating, being cut off, aggressive driving, running late, blocking merge lanes, heavy traffic, construction delays, driving in the city, or if the driver is just having a bad day.
Who Commits Road Rage?
There is no hard set rule about who commits road rage. While some reports show that men between the ages of 35-50 are more likely to exhibit road rage, other reports show that males under the age of 19 are the common culprits. One study even found that middle-aged men driving blue BMWs were the most common road ragers. Common vehicles noted in road rage incidents ranged from Land Rovers to Audis to Subarus. Another interesting fact is that there are potentially 16 million people with Intermittent Explosive Disorder (IED) driving on our roads. To put it simply, these are people with anger management issues. The fact of the matter is that you cannot control these people, but you can certainly control how you respond.
How Can Road Rage Be Stopped?
The best thing to do if you are a victim of another driver’s road rage is to keep your cool, do not retaliate, and do not make eye contact. Try to get away as soon as you can. If the road rager continues to pursue you, you may want to give a nod of apology just to appease them. If you feel you are in danger, call 911 if you are able to safely.
→ For more on safety topics for families, read our Emergency Room Stats blog.
→ Instead of trying to find an urgent care facility open at night, try HHER’s emergency care center, which is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.