angry emoji driver

Road Rage and Aggressive Driving Behavior

You’re running late for an appointment and hit a traffic jam. Or maybe someone cuts you off. How do you respond? Driving can be stressful, but feeling angry when behind the wheel could lead to aggressive driving, distracted driving or even an accident.

What Is Road Rage?

Aggressive driving can take many forms, like tailgating, weaving and speeding. It happens a lot: One survey found that nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger or aggression behind the wheel at least once over the course of the prior year. The consequences can be serious: Aggressive driving played a role in 56 percent of fatal crashes over a five-year period, according to one analysis.

Here’s what to know about road rage, including tips on staying calm and what to do when confronted with an aggressive driver.

worried emoji driverRoad Rage Factors

Here are some common factors that often contribute to road rage incidents or aggressive driving behavior.

  • Traffic delays
    • Heavy traffic, sitting at stoplights, looking for a parking space or even waiting for passengers can increase a driver’s anger level.
  • Running late
    • Running behind for a meeting or appointment can cause drivers to be impatient.
  • Anonymity
    • If drivers feel that they probably won’t see other drivers again, they may feel more comfortable engaging in risky driving behaviors like tailgating, cutting people off, excessive honking or making rude gestures.
  • Disregard for others and the law
    • Some drivers may think the rules don’t apply to them.
  • Habitual or learned behavior
    • For some drivers, aggressive driving may be the norm.
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exasperated emoji driverMost Common Forms Of Road Rage

  • Tailgating
  • Yelling
  • Honking in anger
  • Making angry gestures
  • Trying to block another vehicle from changing lanes
  • Cutting off another vehicle on purpose
  • Getting out of the vehicle to confront another driver
  • Bumping or ramming another vehicle on purpose

happy face driverHow to Avoid Road Rage

Make sure you have the right car insurance policy to protect yourself from aggressive drivers or if you find yourself the victim of a road rage incident.

Before You Get Behind The Wheel

  • Don’t rush. Give yourself time to get where you’re going; you’re less likely to become impatient and take unnecessary risks.
  • Cool off. If you’re upset, take time to calm down.

What To Remember When Driving

  • Give other drivers a break. If someone is driving slowly, keep in mind they might be lost.
  • Use hand gestures wisely. Keep gestures positive—say, waving to a driver who lets you in when merging.
  • Don’t tailgate. Always keep a safe distance from the car in front, no matter how slowly they might be driving.
  • Lay off the horn. Honking out of frustration won’t solve any problems; it will just increase the stress level for everyone on the road.
  • Don’t stop to confront another driver. Stopping could lead to a dangerous situation for everyone.

If Another Driver Acts Aggressively

  • Stay away. Safely change lanes, gradually slow down or even exit the highway to keep a safe distance from the aggressive driver.
  • Don’t reciprocate. Ignore the temptation to respond to the other driver; it could cause the situation to escalate. Don’t make eye contact.
  • Don’t stop. Stopping could lead to a person-to-person confrontation, which could be dangerous.
  • Watch your back. If you’re worried that the other driver is following you, keep your doors locked and drive to the nearest police station.

Taking a defensive driving course could help you stay safer on the road; it could also qualify you for a discount on car insurance. Search for a course near you at

Read more: Distracted Driving: Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention

1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2 AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety
3 Insurance Information Institute
Get GEICO Auto insurance.

    Leave a comment

  1. hate to go slow says,

    There’s something suspiciously missing from this article and maybe it’s just too obvious.

    How about cyclist?
    All motorist are aggravated by the sight of a cyclist on the road whether they’re obeying laws/rules or not even cyclist become enraged at cyclist when they’re behind the wheel.

    This is an innate basic human response.

    My apologies if this has been covered previously.

  2. Paul says,

    I have just been in a road rage situation, I was being tailgated by another vehicle, I had my car set at 30mph, however the other car was up my rear. I felt rage and reacted to it and stopped my car and confronted the driver in a very aggressive manor. The other car was inches from mine when I stopped, that’s how close the car was.

    The driver said that was not the case, but I know it was correct as I would have not felt such anger and frustration which caused me to react in such a manor.

    This is the second time I have reacted like this. I have had three road traffic accidents and I have anxiety and depression from these situations. These accidents are always at the forefront of my mind when I am driving, fear or another accident.

    Drivers are not very courteous anymore and just want to rush, speed etc without due care to others, they think they are entitled to drive in such a manor however driving is a privilege.

    I am so angry that I reacted in such away and I have put many methods in place to deal with this but it is becoming more difficult to lift the anger, frustration and attitude that I have towards irresponsible drivers and tailgaters too.

    I regret what has happened and I hope the other driver reflects on this situation. However I am angry now as I have now caused a double negative impact one on me and one on the other driver too who I hope will not suffer from the situation that they were not expecting. Drivers will never know who they are driving behind and they could end up in a very unexpected situation.

    I will try to incorporate the methods mentioned on this site however as always this is extremly difficult. I will also seek advice from my GP and the Police regarding this. I am also fearful that there may be other repocussions for me if the other driver reports the situation to the Police.

    Happy pleasurable driving is all I wish for.

    • steve says,

      Hi maybe change your music or get a book on tape to take some stress out of your driving, do you have an anger problem, like a short fuse for general things in your life, you need to slow down give yourself more time to travel and try to think happy and just enjoy life not drive it, I listen to audio tapes and try and give anyone a break it doesn’t always work and sometimes I get annoyed, I talk with m wife about people blowing their horn, many drivers seem to have there hand on the horn ready to blow it at anything, I’m not perfect but I try to use the golden rule, it seems a lot of people never heard of it

  3. Rita says,

    Keep your phone in a convenient location and pay attention to your locations (road/cross street/city), as well as the mile markers on the highway. If you are on the highway call the highway patrol.

    I had an incident the other day. A guy was pissed at me because I wouldn’t go more than 5 miles over the speed limit. He had to wait to pass.. I didn’t make eye contact. When he passed to look at me I pretended I glanced at him and pretended I was calling the police and followed just closely enough to give him the impression I was reporting his license plate. He sped up and went another direction. I suspect this was not his first interaction and didn’t want to stick around to see who might show up to help me. I am grateful we have cell phones.

  4. Dieter says,

    Very interesting, i fully agree with your suggestions.
    Having driven accident free for over 60 years in more than 30 different countries, some of
    which drive on the left side (UK, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Kenya, South Africa etc.)
    Germany without speed-limit on certain Autobahn stretches…
    I’ve learned from the beginning: adjust to local traffic conditions and rules and always be calm
    If you want to have fun, drive on a non-race day on the Nuerburg-Ring in Germany. Pay the track admission for 2 or 3 rounds and drive to our heart’s desire. But careful, there are curves that require substantial slow-down!

  5. Shekhar says,

    The defensive driver course through GEICO has helped me a lot. I drive on interstate for roughly 200 miles, once every week. I just put my favorite music, sing along and enjoy my drive. I stay on right lane, 5 miles above. Nobody likes to follow the big trucks. If I find one, I keep safe distance and drive behind a truck and cruise along. I remind myself to enjoy the ride.
    I had read somewhere, if you want to enjoy life, slow down. That applies to long distance drive too. When I have to pass, I ask myself – Do I really need to pass? If the answer is yes, the guy in front is too slow, nobody is in left lane or not at least in safe distance, then I pass the slow driver and again back in right lane. If you remain in RIGHT lane, most of the time, you will be RIGHT. Most of the crashes happen, while passing, if I am not wrong.