There were 80 fatal car accidents nationwide linked to aggressive driving in 2006 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By 2015, that number had grown to 467. Road rage incidents in Texas and around the country are often blamed on angry young men, but a survey conducted by the American Automobile Association in 2016 suggests that the problem is far more widespread. A worrying 80% of the motorists polled by the organization’s Foundation for Traffic Safety admitted that they had engaged in aggressive and dangerous behavior triggered by anger within the preceding 12 months.
More than half of the drivers polled by the AAA said that they deliberately tailgated slow-moving vehicles and almost half admitted to yelling obscenities at other road users. An alarming number of the respondents also admitted to even more dangerous behavior such as cutting another driver off intentionally or speeding up or slowing down to prevent other vehicles from changing lanes or merging safely.
Some experts have blamed the rise in road rage on the stressful lives modern Americans lead, but others say that these incidents are often triggered by distracted drivers who stare at cellphone screens instead of paying attention to what is going on around them. The best way to avoid road rage is to allow plenty of time for trips and keep distractions to a minimum. Drivers who are prone to angry outbursts should also take steps to reduce stress levels behind the wheel such as listening to calming music and giving other road users plenty of room.
Experienced personal injury attorneys may advise drivers who have been involved in a motor vehicle crash to do all that they can to keep their tempers in check if they plan to pursue civil remedies. This is because juries may be less sympathetic to a plaintiff who reacted with anger or violence even if the evidence clearly shows that the defendant was at fault.