road rage

Road rage photo, courtesy of AAA Road Rage brochure

A new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that almost 80% of all drivers in the United States have felt road rage at some time during the past year.

The good news for Colorado is that the most aggressive drivers were not in this state, but rather in the Northeast, John Wentzel reports for The Denver Post.

But traffic congestion is not improving in Denver. An October 2015 annual report on regional congestion from the Denver Regional Council of Governments says that by 2040 in Denver, the traffic from 2-4 p.m. will be as bad as the 4-6 p.m. traffic now is.

Aggressive Drivers

In Colorado, the number of traffic crash deaths in 2015 was about 10% higher than in 2014. The AAA study found that males and drivers in the 19 to 39 age group were the most likely to drive aggressively. In fact, men were three times more likely than women to have stepped out from the driver’s seat to confront another driver, or to ram their vehicle intentionally, Jake Allen wrote for The Gazette.

Colorado Department of Transportation spokesman, Sam Cole, told Allen that road rage is a problem in Colorado, but there are larger transportation-related problems in the state, including not wearing seat belts, distracted driving, and driving while impaired. To address the problem of road rage, CDOT is putting warnings against angry driving on digital message boards near highways.

Jurek Grabovski, director of research for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said:

Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage. Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.

Is Road Rage Increasing?

Two of every three drivers AAA surveyed believe that aggressive driving has become a larger problem than it was three years ago. And nine out of 10 drivers feel that drivers expressing road rage pose a serious threat to their safety.

AAA conducted the study by analyzing data from a national survey of 2,705 licensed drivers ages 16 and older who reported driving in the past 30 days. The bad driving behaviors the study found included:

  • 51%, tailgating on purpose
  • 47%, yelling at another driver
  • 45%, honking the horn in anger
  • 33%, making angry gestures
  • 24%, purposely blocking another driver from changing lanes
  • 12%, intentionally cutting off another vehicle
  • 4%, getting out of their vehicle to confront another driver
  • 3%, purposely bumping or ramming into another vehicle.

Preventing Road Rage

Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research, offers the following suggestions to prevent road rage:

  • Don’t engage in driving behavior that would cause another driver to change speed or direction. Don’t force another driver to apply their brakes.
  • Don’t take things personally. Be tolerant and forgiving, because the other driver might just be having a bad day.
  • Don’t respond to another driver’s anger. Don’t make eye contact, don’t make any gestures, and maintain space around your vehicle. And don’t hesitate to call 911 if necessary.