December 8, 2006

Drivers often respond to road rage with more rage, survey says

Meriden, Connecticut – Fully one-half of drivers who are subjected to aggressive driving behaviour respond with aggression of their own, according to a U.S. survey released by Response Insurance. When a driver gets the finger, is cut off or tailgated, 50 per cent of victims respond with horn honking, yelling, cutting-off, or obscene gestures of their own.

Among respondents to the survey, 34 per cent of drivers say they honk their horns at the aggressor, 27 per cent yell, 19 per cent give the finger back, 17 per cent flash their headlights, 7 per cent mimic the initial aggressive driving behaviour, and 2 per cent admit to trying to run the aggressor off the road.

“Road rage is a two-way street,” says Ray Palermo of Response Insurance. “It takes two people to fight. So if you are subjected to aggressive driving, often the best way to ensure it does not get any worse is to just ignore it.”

When it comes to aggressive responses, men are more likely than women to do so (54 vs. 46 per cent), as are drivers age 18-24 versus 65 and older (67 vs. 30 per cent). Cell phone users are more likely than those who do not use a phone while driving (59 vs. 39 per cent). And perhaps most surprising, drivers with children are more likely to respond aggressively than those without children (59 vs. 45 per cent).

Response Insurance suggests the following tips:

  • Stay calm, focus on getting from one place to another safely, and try to forget about time if you’re running late.
  • Don’t allow yourself to get drawn into a confrontation.
  • Use your turn signal to make sure drivers around you aren’t surprised by your manoeuvre.
  • Don’t cut off other drivers, and make sure you have room when you merge onto a highway.
  • Regardless of the speed you are traveling, move to the right lane if someone wants to pass you.
  • If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room.
  • If you think you are in serious danger, use a cell phone to call the police, or drive to a police station or heavily populated area. Do not drive to your home, and do not get out of the car until it is safe to do so.

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