Despite cars coming equipped with more luxury features and gadgetry designed to make driving easier — driving has become more stressful, here in Maryland and across the US. Blame it on increasingly congested roadways; speeding, lane changing and other forms of aggressive driving; cell phones and other onboard distractions. Our nerves are frazzled and our tempers are short. It’s a recipe for road rage.
If someone tailgates you or cuts you off in traffic, do you yell and make obscene hand gestures? …or remain calm and let them pass, and hope no one gets in a traffic accident? If you let your temper get the best of you, you’re not alone. According to a 2016 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study, 80 percent of US drivers surveyed admitted to engaging in road rage at least once in the previous year. Road rage behaviors include…
…tailgating, horn honking, yelling, blocking the other driver, getting out of the vehicle to confront the other driver, bumping or ramming another vehicle, and that old standby — making obscene hand gestures (i.e., “flipping the bird” or “the Jersey salute,” a/k/a giving the middle finger). While driving in and around Baltimore is enough to make most any reasonable driver’s blood boil, allowing that anger to escalate is a very bad idea. The AAA has documented numerous cases of road rage leading to violence or even death on our US highways. And a new study reveals that more road rage incidents are involving gun violence.
What’s more… The AAA reports that drivers in the Northeast are more likely to be guilty of road rage. Male and younger drivers ages 19 to 39 are the most frequent offenders, and drivers who engage in aggressive driving, e.g., running red lights or cutting off other vehicles, are more likely to display road rage toward other drivers.
So the next time someone does something offensive to you in traffic … don’t get mad. Stay calm and de-escalate the situation. Bad things happen on our Maryland roadways (CBS Baltimore’s search results offer a list of disturbing Baltimore road rage incidents). The AAA recommends tolerance and forgiveness, not making eye contact or confronting other drivers, and calling 911 if necessary. They also say do your best not to be the offending driver. It’s dangerous enough out there on our Baltimore, Maryland roadways without driving leading to violence.
AAA: Most Drivers Have Engaged in Aggressive Driving
NBCNews.com July 14, 2016
Nearly 80 Percent of Drivers Express Significant Anger, Aggression or Road Rage
AAA Newsroom July 2016
Study: Road rage incidents involving guns are increasing
CBSNews.com April 10, 2017