Robert F. Kennedy joked that the phrase, “Don’t get mad, get even” was “that wonderful law of the Boston Irish political jungle.” Sadly, an increasing number of drivers on U.S. roads seem to have adopted it, with around 30 people murdered each year due to road rage incidents.
Everyone drives badly at some point, be it by accident or on purpose. Getting mad or trying to get even only increases the danger for you and everyone else on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the number of people killed due to road rage has increased 500% in the last decade. You do not need to pull a gun on someone to kill them. Road rage causes people to drive aggressively, making it more likely a crash will occur that injures or kills someone. The NHTSA found road rage to be a contributory factor in more than half of all traffic accidents.
Unless you are a Zen master, you have likely been guilty of road rage at some point. Almost 80% of those surveyed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety admitted to at least one road rage incident in the previous year.
When someone gets angry, it is rarely about the thing that just happened. When you are in a good mood and someone cuts you off, you can laugh it off. Yet if you are having a bad day, it can act as the spark to light your already short fuse.
While you cannot account for other driver’s actions, you can reduce the risk that you make the problem worse. Getting enough sleep and dealing with any stress before getting in your car can reduce the chance you reacting badly. Allowing enough time to reach your destination removes the pressure of time. It allows you to worry less about the few milliseconds you lose when someone cuts in front of you.
Seek legal help to understand your options if you have been in a crash caused by someone’s road rage.