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The brutal facts about road rage

Driving brings out the worst in some people. As some jurisdictions raise the speed limits, drivers continue to exceed them, creating a dangerous situation for every traveler. In fact, more than half of drivers surveyed admitted they routinely drive more than 10 mph over the speed limit and feel this is a normal thing to do. Other drivers, however, see this blatant disregard for speed limits as aggressive behavior, and police may decide it is reckless. 

Speeding may not be the only form of aggressive driving you experience on the road. It is likely that, during your daily commute, you witness drivers exhibiting various levels of road rage. Road rage is a curious and frightening phenomenon since some people who are otherwise calm and gentle let go of all reason when behind the wheel. Unfortunately, this may have dangerous and deadly consequences. 

Unreasonable reactions 

Road rage contributes to about one third of all crashes. When drivers lose their cool, they are more likely to take dangerous risks, such as cutting you off, tailgating you or slamming the brakes in front of you. Even if you encounter a driver who simply lays on the horn, shouts, gestures or flashes high beams at you, it can be intimidating and may result in an accident. You have every reason to feel nervous during an encounter with a road rage driver because of the following facts: 

  • More than half of those who experience road rage from other drivers respond by honking their horns, shouting or swearing. 
  • A smaller number of drivers respond more aggressively to road rage from others, such as tailgating or even making contact with the other vehicle. 
  • Some drivers even try to run another car off the road in retaliation for acts of aggression or innocent mistakes. 
  • Nearly 27,000 fatal traffic accidents are the result of road rage, which is about 67% of all traffic fatalities. 
  • More than one third of road rage events escalate to involve the use of firearms, but many more drivers resort to other weapons, such as baseball bats or tire irons. 
  • About 30 road rage incidents each year end in murder. 

Even if you are not involved in a road rage incident, you may easily become a victim if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Drivers who allow their impatience, stress or sense of entitlement to override their reason and self-control may not consider your rights to safe travel or the fact that you have a life to live and loved ones waiting for you to come home. 

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