The term “road rage” has made it into the headlines of the media across the country. The reports detail sad stories of car accidents and deaths involving someone who got angry behind the wheel and acted out aggressively. But what exactly is road rage, and how much is it still affecting Americans? Are there any consequences for the person guilty of road rage, and how does aggressive driving impact its victims?
Pinning Down the Definition
There seems to be some variation on the specific definition of road rage. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, its most general definition involves a driver showing aggression. Though, the term typically refers to higher forms of aggression—like physical assault—that happen because of a disagreement between drivers.
HowStuffWorks points out that the definition of aggressive driving and road rage differ depending on whom you talk to. However, whether you think road rage could be someone intentionally cutting you off or some sort of violent episode that takes place on the road, it’s clear that both types of aggression happen and should be deterred.
Consequences for other Drivers and Passengers
The bad news is that because road rage is aggressive in nature, it’s often accompanied by negative consequences. The most unfortunate report, according to AOLAutos, is that instances of road rage are seen as on the rise. Surveys from various drivers indicate how many people feel aggressive driving has worsened over the years and that aggressive behavior on the road can be a tremendous threat to their lives.
While it’s difficult to gather concrete numbers about road rage because of its variation in definition and the difficulty involved in identifying intent, some numbers are out there. For example, some people might consider excessive speeding to fall under the broader definition of road rage, especially if a driver is speeding in instances of bad weather or heavy traffic, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Considering this, speeding causes almost ⅓ of all motor vehicle crashes involving fatalities.
Pertaining to an AAA Foundation study, the AOL Autos article also states that out of 10,000 suspected road rage events over a 7-year time period, about 12,610 injuries and 218 murders happened as a result. On top of this, more than 26,000 traffic deaths that occur each year are said to be related to road rage and aggressive driving.
Consequences for the Culprit
First off, the consequence of road rage is the harm a person could potentially cause to someone else. A level of guilt may be involved if somebody later regrets what he or she did after growing angry behind the wheel.
Outside of the harm it presents to others, there are additional consequences. Going back to the definition of road rage, Bank.com differentiates between aggressive driving and road rage by saying the former can lead to a traffic offense while the latter can lead to a criminal offense.
What does this mean for the individual guilty of road rage?
Sometimes, extra costs are involved if the guilty driver is required by court to attend a driving course. For example, The States Against Road Rage (SCARR), a program inMassachusetts, was designed to teach drivers charged with serious road violations to understand the consequences of their actions and make them address how they’re going to change their behavior. This particular class is $75.
In addition, if a driver is found guilty of road rage, their insurance company may not cover the damages that resulted from the incident, and those costs can add up fast.
Road rage is a dangerous behavior that can lead to accidents, injury, and even death. Do your best to remain calm behind the wheel, and don’t antagonize other drivers. You never know who may be dangerous.