Americans today are more stressed than ever, and sometimes that spills over into the way they drive. Road rage is a growing epidemic on roadways in Louisiana and throughout the country, and it’s making highways and interstates more dangerous.

The statistics for road rage, a.k.a. “aggressive driving” in the United States are horrific and may shock you:

  • Aggressive driving was the cause of 66% of fatal car accidents in the US.
  • Road rage caused 218 killings and 12,610 injuries in the US over the past seven years.
  • Of those drivers who are targeted with road rage, 50% respond in kind.

Although road rage doesn’t get the same publicity as speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving, it’s something that all drivers should be aware of, both in others and in themselves. Drivers who experience road rage often lose control of their emotions and judgment, significantly increasing the risk that they’ll engage in reckless and dangerous behaviors when they’re behind the wheel.

How to Spot Road Rage in Others

Some drivers silently seethe behind the wheel when they’re stuck in traffic or are cut off by other motorists. Other drivers take out their aggression in more obvious ways, which can put everyone around them at risk. If you recognize any of the following behaviors in other drivers while you’re on the road, stay alert and cautious, as they may indicate road rage:

  • Speeding—When drivers are running late, they may act out by speeding. Driving over the speed limit is still the top cause of crashes, so if a speeding driver is approaching you from behind in the same lane, change lanes as soon as you can safely do so.
  • Tailgating—When road rage-affected drivers feel slighted or slowed down by other motorists, they may tailgate them for miles as a form of revenge or as an attempt to intimidate them. Move over if you’re being tailgated and let the other driver pass to avoid a confrontation.
  • Honking—Car horns are designed to quickly grab the attention of nearby drivers. But they can also be used in an aggressive manner by angry drivers. Don’t get in a honking war with a road rage driver—instead, stay calm and avoid interaction.
  • Staring and gesturing—If an angry driver pulls up next to you, they may stare at you, gesture at you, or even roll down their window and scream at you. Engaging with them will only serve to escalate the situation. Instead, stay focused on the road ahead and consider an alternate route.
  • Ramming—Drivers who are completely overcome with anger and aggression may intentionally cause collisions by ramming into other vehicles. If another driver crashes into you on purpose, call 911 immediately, lock your doors, and stay in your vehicle until police arrive at the scene.

Follow These Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Road Rage

Although some people are more prone to experiencing road rage than others, almost everyone is susceptible to it if they’re feeling angry, frustrated, or impatient. In fact, even small changes in mood and demeanor can be enough for drivers to experience impaired judgment and to be more likely to make rash, dangerous decisions.

Stay safe while driving by following these tips:

  • Plan your route and leave early—Know exactly how long it will take you to reach your destination, whether you’ll encounter any road closures or work zones on the way, and give yourself plenty of time to get there to reduce frustration on the road.
  • Get enough sleep every night—Sleep-deprived drivers are accident risks to themselves and others for two reason. First, being exhausted delays reaction times and impairs judgment. Second, it can make drivers crankier and less agreeable, which can result in road rage.
  • Listen to calming music—Upbeat or aggressive music can have a dramatic effect on your mood. While it may make you feel more awake, it can also increase tension levels—which isn’t good when you’re stressed or angry because of traffic or inconsiderate drivers.

At Dudley DeBosier, our New Orleans car accident lawyers work hard to help innocent victims get the compensation they deserve after crashes that weren’t their fault. Whether those crashes were caused by speeding, following too closely, running red lights, alcohol or drug intoxication, distraction, or even road rage, it’s our goal to build strong claims for our clients and hold negligent drivers accountable.

If you were hurt in a crash caused by an angry or aggressive driver, we want to speak with you. We’re ready to investigate the accident, collect evidence that proves you weren’t at fault, and negotiate to get you maximum compensation. From the moment you contact us, we’ll be here to answer your questions and address your concerns.

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