Most drivers in Minnesota will likely encounter an aggressive driver. Aggressive driving is very common, and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that it contributes to 54% of fatal car accidents in the U.S. However, fewer people have the misfortune of witnessing road rage, which is aggressive driving taken to the extreme.
The difference between road rage and aggressive driving
Aggressive driving is unsafe behavior that is deliberate and willful. An aggressive driver knows that speeding increases the risk of injuring other people in an accident, but they do it anyway. Aggressive drivers also engage in other deliberate behaviors, like tailgating, cutting other drivers off, frequent lane changes and running red lights.
Road rage is an extreme version of aggressive driving. A driver with road rage may speed, tailgate and do all those other aggressive driving behaviors while also gesturing rudely at other drivers. Beeping without good reason, yelling profanities and even bumping other vehicles are all characteristics of road rage. Other road rage behaviors include:
- Forcing other cars off the road
- Using their brakes and headlights to harass other drivers
- Ramming or bumping other vehicles on purpose
- Physically confronting drivers outside of the vehicle
- Using a gun to intimidate other drivers
Statistics on aggressive driving and road rage
In a seven-year study conducted by AAA, researchers found that road rage caused 12,610 injuries and was responsible for 218 murders. That means that there is an average of around 1,800 injuries and 30 deaths each year from road rage.
Aggressive driving is difficult to measure, but in a AAA survey, 78% of drivers revealed that they had engaged in some type of aggressive driving within the past year. Running late for something is one of the most common reasons that people give for driving aggressively. Between 2006 and 2015, there was a 500% increase in fatal motor vehicle accidents involving aggressive driving.
Aggressive driving is illegal in most jurisdictions
People can be charged for aggressive driving even when their actions don’t end up causing an accident. When drivers honk unnecessarily, tailgate other vehicles, or weave in and out of lanes, they could be pulled over for aggressive driving.