The source of road rage

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Driver aggression, commonly referred to as “road rage,” is thought to contribute to half of all car accidents. Preventing road rage is a major safety objective.

Identifying the cause of driver frustration, and creating strategies to prevent it, is a top priority for road safety. The top three triggers for road rage are hostile displays, cutting and weaving, and speeding. It doesn’t help that exposure to gasoline vapors can also make us more aggressive.

Data gathered from road rage website

Dr. Christine Wickens from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health examined data gathered from thousands of comments posted on This website asked drivers to share the complaints and talk about the bad driving behaviors they experienced.

“These websites can tell us more about what people are doing out there in the real world,” she explained.

What sets us off

Out of 5,000 entries posted over eight years, researchers found what sets us off most:

  • Cutting and weaving: 54%
  • Speeding: 29%
  • Hostile displays: 25%

Researchers looked into the phenomenon of angry drivers wanting to teach bad drivers a lesson. They also found that the act of one driver can escalate into a multi-car hostile situation.

“Remind yourself to take a deep breath, stay calm, and do whatever it takes to bring your anger down,” Wickens suggested. She advised drivers to stay calm and not respond aggressively to the way other people are driving. She has also suggested adding anger management skills to driver education courses.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Accident Analysis and Prevention


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