Road rage and aggressive driving are the cause of serious incidents on our roadways. A compilation of statistics over seven years by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Auto Vantage found that 218 murders and 12,610 injuries were due to road rage.
In South Florida, the NHTSA recorded 20,935 aggressive driving incidents in Miami-Dade and 12,722 in Broward over the past six years. Road rage shootings almost doubled from 22 to 42 individuals each month in 2021 according to a report by Everytown Research and Policy.
What is road rage?
Road rage, as defined by Oxford Languages, is “violent anger caused by the stress and frustration involved in driving a motor vehicle in difficult conditions”. This type of aggressive driving may take the form of tailgating, swerving, honking, shouting expletives, and in some cases brandishing a gun.
A study by psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher, Ph.D., of Colorado State University, found that individuals who identified themselves as “high-anger” drivers were more likely to:
- Engage in riskier behaviors like speeding or tailgating.
- Have more frequent aggressive or hostile thoughts.
- Get angry faster and act out more aggressively.
- Have twice as many accidents in driving simulations.
- Experience more inherent anger, anxiety, and impulsiveness.
Research presented by Psychology Today notes two key factors that contribute to road rage – the emotions of the driver and the ability to regulate those emotions.
Prevent Road Rage
Drivers should adhere to all rules of the road while paying particular attention to the following to prevent road rage in themselves and protect themselves from others:
- Keep a safe following distance: the National Safety Council recommends a minimum safe following distance of three seconds.
- Allow space for other vehicles to merge.
- Use your turning signals to indicate your intentions to other drivers.
- Refrain from inflammatory hand gestures and language.
- Only use a car’s high beams when necessary.
- Practice patience on the road, at an intersection, and when waiting for a parking space.
- Employ defensive driving techniques. For a full list of defensive driving tips, visit panterlaw.com/2022/12/02/five-ways-to-drive-defensively.
Stay Calm, Drive On
Often remaining calm while on the road is a matter of enlisting techniques that help individuals relax their minds and bodies. Here are three ways to relax while driving:
- Practice deep breathing: take deep slow breaths into the lower abdomen and gently release the breath through the mouth until the heart begins a calm steady rhythm.
- Find and release tension in the body: notice where areas of your body are tense and mindfully begin to relax each part.
- Practice mindful driving: mindfulness is the ability to direct the mind to the present. When driving, an individual may bring complete and focused attention to driving. To call the mind back to the present moment, an individual may begin to notice the sounds, tastes, textures, and sights available to them in each instance.
Drive Safe in 2023
The personal injury law firm of Panter, Panter, and Sampedro hopes you will join us in our 2023 safe driving resolution to “stay calm, drive on”. Our personal injury law firm is dedicated to protecting Florida’s families. We strive to help keep our communities safe through safety resources like this. However, when the unexpected does occur, we are dedicated to helping families through every step of the legal process. Speak to one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at (305) 662-6178.