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 geico.com.

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

Sources
1 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2 AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety
3 Insurance Information Institute
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    Leave a comment

  1. ALAN SCHNEIDER says,

    I found that if a car was tailing to close I would put on my flashers and sometimes they would back off and keep their distance. Sometimes they don’t realize they are getting too close.

  2. James T. Parsch says,

    I’m 78 years old and have never had a accident nor have I ever had a ticket. I was in law enforcement and I also drove tractor trailers over the road after retiring from law enforcement. I was awarded with a citation for driving over one million miles accident free. I congratulate your company with emails such as this. Hopefully others will follow your lead and the accidents will dwindle.

  3. Debi says,

    I took a defensive driving course years ago. I learned so much. It should be required before getting a drivers license for everyone.!

  4. Mel says,

    Don’t always assume that the driver in front of you are driving slow deliberately. Some drivers are unawared elders or out of state drivers. Be patient and wait until you can carefully pass someone. Sometimes you can intimidate and cause the driver in front of you to panic if you tailgate, blow your horn or flash your high beam. Not to mention blinding them.

  5. John E Supplice says,

    I’m impressed I wish everyone can pay attention and read this information. I’m glad I did because it could save my life and someone else life. This is well documented and precised. Thanks Geico for this information you spared my life and changed my driving style.

  6. Michael says,

    I agree on speed limits, but if a lane change can be safely made in order to accommodate a speeder, I always try to do that. After all they are the ones asking for a ticket which I have seen them get on many occasions.

  7. Bill B says,

    Everyone should treat everyone as though they might have an emergency, and they just might, so just get out of their way no matter what, stay calm, and forget about your feelings. They might be fleeing from a gunman, or rushing a bleeder to the hospital, you never know what the other drivers situation is. As soon as a situation happens, put on your signal, and get out of the problems way. Even with all our intelligence I say that mankind is still in its infancy, so grow up and get yourself out of the way.

  8. Charles Mattox says,

    If high schools had not eliminated Driver’s Education courses due to high insurance rates, our highways would be much safer. I see so many drivers that appear to have learned to drive by playing Grand Theft Auto on their computer. I sometimes wonder how many are playing it on their phone while driving down the road.

  9. Sue Currie says,

    Thank You Geico, super information. I feel like we should save this or you should send it out once a month. Of course; taking time to read and heed is the important part.