If you’ve ever tailgated another car or yelled at a bad driver, you’re far from alone. It turns out the majority of American drivers have experienced some kind of road rage in just the last year. According to a recent study [PDF] by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 80 percent of 2705 licensed drivers polled reported engaging in some form of aggressive driving over the last 12 months, including tailgating, honking, yelling, blocking, and even intentionally bumping or ramming another vehicle.
Overall, male drivers and young drivers between the ages of 19 and 39 were more likely to engage in aggressive driving behaviors than women and older drivers, according to the study. Men, for instance, were three times more likely than women to intentionally ram another vehicle or leave their vehicle to confront another driver. Interestingly, drivers living in the Northeast were also significantly more likely to experience road rage or engage in aggressive driving, with almost 30 percent of Northeastern drivers reporting they make angry gestures while in the car.
In general, 51 percent of drivers said they’d purposefully tailgated in the last year, 47 percent had yelled at another driver, and 12 percent said they’d cut off another vehicle on purpose. Horrifyingly, a full three percent said they’d bumped or rammed another vehicle on purpose. To break that down, that means approximately 5.7 million drivers intentionally hit another car this year.
The study serves as a reminder of how important it is to keep your cool while driving. Jake Nelson, AAA's Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research, explains that it’s all too easy for road rage situations to escalate. He claims the best way for everyone to stay safe is to stay calm. "It's completely normal for drivers to experience anger behind the wheel, but we must not let our emotions lead to destructive choices," Nelson explains. "Don't risk escalating a frustrating situation, because you never know what the other driver might do. Maintain a cool head, and focus on reaching your destination safely."
[h/t City Lab]