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If you’ve ever driven through Atlanta, you’re likely well acquainted with the road rage that runs rampant throughout the city’s streets. In recent years, videos of such rage have surfaced showing unfathomable acts of violence and reckless behavior – all because someone got cut off in traffic.
Many argue road rage accidents have not only become more prevalent throughout the years, but they’ve also gotten more aggressive. According to an Atlanta auto accident firm, ChancoSchiffer P.C., aggressive driving accidents have nearly tripled in the past decade. Statistics released by the NHSTA also revealed that over 66% of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving, and 37% of them involved a firearm.
What is ‘Road Rage’ ?
Road rage is defined by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) as any type of aggressive and/or violent behavior stemming from a driver’s uncontrolled anger caused by the actions of another motorist.
Common displays of road rage include:
- Hitting another vehicle with your car
- Tailgating the car in front of you
- Speeding to pass another car up, cut someone off, or weaving in & out of traffic
- Failing to yield to another vehicle
- Honking and/or screaming at other motorists
- Flashing headlights or signaling at slow-moving cars
- Yelling, screaming and displaying other aggressive signals to motorists
While its normal for a driver to experience some form of frustration towards another motorist at some point in their lives, aggressive driving takes the situation much further and places the lives of all drivers sharing the road at risk. With aggressive driving altercations and murders nearly tripling since 2015, road rage is easily one of the fastest growing, and most preventable, problems for U.S. motor safety today.
What are the causes of Road Rage in Georgia?
Many factors can play into a driver exhibiting rage at the wheel. Most of the time, it isn’t the incident itself that sets the driver off but the events leading up to it, such as:
- Rushing or running behind
- Scolding rowdy children in the car
- Getting fired or in an argument at your place of work
- Arguing with a loved one
- Traffic delays
A report by AutoVantage also found that the following driver behaviors are likely to incite road rage among other drivers sharing the road:
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Talking on the phone
- Texting or emailing on a cell phone
- Multitasking (putting on makeup, shaving, reading, etc)
- Running red lights
- Switching lanes without signaling
- Cutting another driver off
- Driving too fast / too slow
In another 2011 Australian study, a significant percentage of participants used aggressive driving as a method of ‘teaching other drivers a lesson’ or correcting their driving. Drivers who are occupied with retaliating typically aren’t prioritizing the safety of those around them-which can be a big problem and extremely dangerous.
Driver Behavior Leading to Fatal Accidents
Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCIAA) found that the average Atlanta commuter experiences 59 hours of traffic delay per year. With many in Georgia, and across the nation, spending well over that amount in traffic, it’s easy to understand how certain driving behaviors can enrage other motorists on the road.
More often times than not, the type of behavior that incites road rage is that which puts other motorists at risk of an accident. Below are statistics on the type of driver behavior that led to fatal car accidents in 2016.
What is the State of Georgia doing to Combat Aggressive Driving?
Since the 1990s, when the prevalence of road rage first made its debut in the media many states, including Georgia, implemented laws that put harsh punishments on aggressive and reckless driving.
According to Georgia state law §40-6-397, any motorist convicted of aggressive driving, or road rage, will be guilty of a misdemeanor of a ‘high and aggravated nature,’which can result in jail time. An incident resulting in harm to another individual and/or their property can also have additional criminal charges added to the offense.
What Can You Do To Diffuse Road Rage?
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) found that the average Atlanta commuter spends 59 hours of traffic delay per year. With many Georgians spending even more than this on the roads, it’s easy to understand how motorists lose their patience from time to time. However, road rage takes these small frustrations to another level in adding reckless driving behavior that puts everyone on the road in danger.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to reciprocate aggressive driving behavior. However but it’s truly best to take the high road when it comes to road rage.
Here are 10 tips to diffusing road rage and avoiding a completely unnecessary accident altogether.
Tips for Avoiding Accidents
- Don’t take driver actions personally
- Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver
- Avoid making obscene gestures and comments
- Be forgiving to other driver’s mistakes
- Assume other driver’s actions not to be malicious
- Consider if you’re driving in a way to incite road rage
- Don’t speed and steer clear of drivers that do
- Don’t tailgate the vehicles in front of you
- Increase your distance if a car is brake-checking you
- Be aware of commonly overlooked distractions, such as children, eating, multitasking, and applying makeup, among others.