The term road rage is believed to first be coined in the United States. In the late 1980s US drivers, frustrated by increasing congestion, started fighting and shooting each other on a regular basis. The popular press began using the term.
Unconfirmed statistics report up to 1,200 road rage related deaths a
year in the US. All women need to know about this for self defense.
The Automobile Association conducted a survey of 526 motorist. That survey found that 90% of motorist admitted experiencing this phenomenon in the last year ; 60% lost their tempers behind the wheel. The various forms of reported road rage were: aggressive tailgating (62%), flashing headlights (59%), offensive gesticulations (48%)- incidentally, I love that term for the bird-, deliberately obstructing other vehicles (21%) and verbal abuse (16%). Only 1% of drivers claim to have been victims of physical attack by another driver.
What are the causes? Well, doing something stupid or doing something perceived as stupid or aggressive by another driver who is already in a bad mood. Failure to indicate is one reason/excuse. I, for one, have found it best not to signal a lane change until the last moment. I have noticed that if I signal a lane change early the driver in the lane often speeds up so I can not get in front of him.
At any rate whatever the offending move that sets it off, what happens next is where it can escalate into dangerous behavior.
Of course one may flash the headlights or honk the horn to express
irritation, but this may not succeed in communicating the full depth of
our emotions. Perhaps the defending driver feels the need to assert his
dominance, chasing the other driver to teach him/her a lesson.
To avoid becoming a victim of road rage, follow these useful tips:
If the other driver gets out of his car and you can’t pull away, keep your windows up and doors locked:
Make a show of using your cell phone to call 911. Use your cell phone or camera to take a picture of the driver and vehicle. If you do not have a cell phone write down a full description of the driver and his vehicle and license.
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of road rage is to drive responsively and behave politely. Drive at a safe speed. Keep your car in good working order and carry a cell phone/camera.