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As a personal injury attorney, with a special kinship to the biking community, I see more than my fair share of auto accidents involving road rage and aggressive driving. Motorcyclists, by virtue of their vulnerability, are even more susceptible to being injured by aggressive drivers than those driving other types of vehicles. Possibly because of this, it has long been obvious to me, for quite some time, that aggressive driving and road rage have been on a steady rise.

Now, thanks to a recent report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, this is no longer just my educated opinion but documented fact. According to this report;

“More than 78% of U.S. drivers reported having engaged in at least one aggressive driving behavior, at least once in the past year.”

Considering the fact that according to the Federal Highway Administration, there are 213 million plus licensed drivers in the U.S and that these were self-admitted events, this means that a minimum of 170,400,000 drivers acknowledged bad behavior. Sadly, we can only guess at the number who failed to admit to it or what the numbers would look like for unlicensed drivers.

How the Numbers Break Down

As you might expect, Males between the ages of 19-39 were the worst offenders and by a wide margin were more likely to leave their vehicles in order to confront another driver, or to intentionally ram or bump another car.

A more complete analysis of the numbers looks like this.

  • Ramming or hitting another car or truck on purpose: 3 percent (5.7 million drivers)
  • Cutting off other vehicles intentionally: 12 percent (24 million drivers)
  • Jumping out of a car to confront other drivers: 4 percent (7.6 million drivers)
  • Displaying angry and rude gestures: 33 percent (67 million drivers)
  • Tailgating on purpose: 51 percent (104 million drivers)
  • Hitting the horn to show anger or annoyance: 45 percent (91 million drivers)
  • Yelling or shouting at other drivers: 47 percent (95 million drivers)
  • Attempting to prevent or block other vehicles from changing lanes: 24 percent (49 million drivers)

How Not To Become a Victim of Road Rage

There is nothing you can do to control the actions or attitudes of others. However, you can control your own actions and minimize your odds of becoming a victim of road rage by driving defensively and following these safe driving tips.

Be Tolerant

Everyone makes mistakes and rarely do people intentionally try to start a fight on the road. Don’t take another driver’s errors personally. Forgive and forget, like you hope others will when it is your turn to have a bad day.

Drive Responsibly

Don’t text, put on makeup, swerve, brake-check, tailgate or indulge in other activities that might lead to you becoming the object of someone else’s anger.

Keep Your Distance

You are much less likely to get involved with someone if you stay away from them. Don’t tailgate and if someone crowds you let them pass.

Don’t Respond

As I said above, you can’t control others so you better control yourself.

  • Don’t, let those eagles fly. Holster that finger.
  • Don’t yell or scream insults. Leave momma out of it.
  • Don’t retaliate in kind. If things get ugly dial 911.

More and more often, I see serious injuries occurring as a result of bad behavior and poor choices made on the road. Remember, you have more time than you have lives and no appointment is worth getting hurt or killed over. Be patient. Stay calm. Most importantly, drive and arrive safely.