Modern life can be full of stress. If you are having a bad day, your problems do not magically disappear the moment you get behind the wheel of your car. They travel as an unwanted passenger with you.
The same happens for all other drivers. When another driver gets angry with you, the real reason for their ire probably lies elsewhere. Unfortunately, when they focus that anger on you, it can have potentially deadly consequences.
How common is road rage?
Road rage and aggressive driving are widespread. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, eight out of every 10 drivers said they were guilty of it at some point during the previous year. Here are some of the offenses they admitted to:
- Around half admitted to tailgating, shouting and using the horn in anger
- A third said they had made rude hand gestures to other drivers
- A quarter had purposefully blocked the path of another driver
Some people went much further. They were not part of the survey because they were behind bars for assault, murder and other violent offenses.
It is easy to react angrily when another driver does something to you. However, while something you did might have triggered their action, you are probably not the real target of their anger. You are a stand-in for their wife they argued with, their boss who fired them or some other frustration in their life.
That does not make it any less dangerous a situation for you. However, it may help you refrain from reacting and adding to the danger if you remember that. When you come across a driver with road rage, the best thing you can do is be compassionately thankful you are having a better day than they are. Above all, avoid getting sucked into their game and increasing the risk you suffer an injury in a car crash.