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Road rage incidents on the rise, according to statistics

Walnut Creek auto accident attorney

A woman was fatally shot in Wisconsin while teaching her teenage son to drive. A child was shot dead by a deranged gunman. A driver and passenger were attacked by a man wielding a sledgehammer. If this doesn't sound horrific enough, just know it is only the tip of the iceberg. According to CNN, road rage is a growing problem across the United States.

These national statistics cited in the article confirm it:

  • Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded that fatal crashes caused by aggressive driving have increased in the past decade by nearly 500 percent. For example, there were around 80 reported in 2006, but 467 in 2015.
  • According to the nonprofit news organization The Trace, incidents involving drivers brandishing guns have risen from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016. Within the first half of 2017, approximately 325 incidents were reported.
  • Nearly 80 percent of drivers polled in a 2016 study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety admitted to expressing serious aggression, anger, or road rage at least once per year.

What types of behaviors do aggressive drivers engage in?

The AAA study also found:

  • 51 percent of participants admitted to purposely tailgating other drivers
  • 47 percent yelled at other drivers
  • 45 percent honked at other drivers in anger or annoyance
  • 33 percent gave obscene or hostile gestures to another driver

In more extreme cases:

  • 24 percent admitted to blocking another driver from changing lanes
  • 12 percent purposely cut off another driver
  • 4 percent exited their car to confront another driver
  • 3 percent purposely rammed or bumped another vehicle

Who is most likely to behave aggressively on the road?

While the majority of drivers may not take things to this extreme, one study delved into the characteristics of drivers who do. The study found that those who begin driving while angry (possibly because of something that happened at home or at work) are more likely to speed, tailgate, drive aggressively, and engage in road rage.

AAA researchers also point to the following factors that can lead to road rage:

  • More Americans today balance busy schedules and are stressed out by limited time.
  • More Americans today are sleep deprived, which can lead to aggressive behavior on the road.

"If you miss just one or two hours of your normal sleep within a 24 hour period, your performance as a driver has the same level of risk as driving with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.08, the legal limit," said Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for the AAA.

How can road rage be prevented?

In order to prevent road rage, CNN suggests doing the following:

  • Reduce stress: Driving stress can be significantly reduced when drivers give themselves more time to reach their destination. In addition, getting enough sleep could prevent driving errors that can trigger road rage in the first place.
  • Be courteous on the road: Drivers should refrain from cutting off other vehicles or assuming they have the right of way when they don't. In addition, drivers should never tailgate or drive behind another vehicle with their high beams on.
  • Don't let a small situation escalate: Every day, drivers make errors, most of which are unintentional. When this occurs, it's best to let it slide rather than let it escalate into a potentially deadly situation. If you find yourself in a conflict with an aggressive driver, avoid making eye contact or reacting.

If you or a loved one is hurt in a crash involving aggressive driving or road rage, it's important to seek immediate medical attention. The driver who was responsible for causing your crash can, and should, be held accountable. An experienced Walnut Creek car accident attorney at Clancy & Diaz, LLC can investigate your crash and fight to pursue justice for you and your family.

To schedule your free case evaluation with our legal team, contact us online today.

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