How You Can Avoid Becoming a Contributor to Road Rage

You can avoid becoming a contributor to road rage by paying attention to your surroundings, letting aggressive drivers pass you, and making sure you follow the rules of the road. On the other hand, endangering other people on a highway while you are experiencing road rage can have serious consequences for you. From higher insurance rates, the loss of your license, and possible prison time, avoiding road rage is an important part of safe driving.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

Full Bio →

Written by

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jan 28, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single company.

Our partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from top car companies please enter your ZIP code above to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Here's what you need to know...

  • Road rage is characterized by aggressive and dangerous driving habits like speeding, tailgating, and brake checking
  • If you have difficulty dealing with aggressive feelings, try using calming mindfulness techniques and ensure that you allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination
  • While you can’t avoid aggressive drivers, de-escalation techniques like eye contact aversion might help

No one is perfect, including drivers. From lack of attention to carelessness, almost every driver has done something to make another driver angry.

At the same time, most drivers have also experienced annoyance and anger because of something someone else did on the road. Whether it involves missing a green light due to a slow driver, getting cut off, or an inability to merge, road rage is a natural response.

While it can be tempting to succumb to aggressive feelings, road rage incidents have actual consequences. From higher rates on your comprehensive or liability auto insurance to car accidents and even death, road rage is dangerous.

You can avoid becoming a contributor to road rage by following the tips below. You can also find ways to save money on your insurance if you’ve caused a road rage incident. To start, you can enter your ZIP code into our free tool to discover what quotes might look like for you.

What is road rage?

You might not know what the definition is, but you’ve likely experienced road rage if you’ve been behind the wheel of a car.

Road rage involves aggressive driving behaviors, usually to intimidate another driver or as a way to release frustration. While it doesn’t sound that unpleasant, road rage can be extremely hazardous. Road rage behaviors include the following:

  • Erratic braking or brake checking
  • Weaving through traffic
  • Cutting off other drivers
  • Excessive speeding
  • Failure to use turn signals
  • Tailgating
  • Running red lights or stop signs
  • Preventing other drivers from making lane changes
  • Sudden acceleration
  • Flashing lights or honking without cause
  • Leaving a vehicle to threaten another person
  • Making rude gestures or yelling at other drivers
  • Pursuing other drivers
  • Intentionally hitting or swiping a car or person
  • Confrontations, assault, and murder

While these behaviors are considered reckless, some result in criminal charges. For example, brake checking — or the act of slamming on your brakes when a driver is too close behind you — can land you in serious trouble.

So, what causes road rage? Some people are simply more aggressive than others and are, therefore, more prone to engaging in road rage, but there are other common instigators:

  • Traffic
  • The anonymity of driving
  • Running late
  • Carelessness toward others
  • Disregard for driving laws

Whatever the reason, road rage often leads to tragic results. In fact, most road rage behaviors are illegal because they are extremely dangerous for every driver.

Road Rage Statistics

To gain a better idea of why you should avoid road rage, consider the following statistics:

  • 66% of all traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving behaviors, such as speeding
  • In a 7-year period, road rage led to the murder of over 200 people and the injury of 12,000 more
  • 37% of road rage incidents involve a firearm
  • Firearm incidents are on the rise, with one person either injured or killed by a gun in a road rage occurrence every 18 hours
  • 50% of drivers escalate aggression when they’re targeted by a road rage driver, while 2% attempt revenge in the form of tailgating, brake checking, or collisions

Experts believe that road rage incidents and gun violence on the road are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Americans are dealing with much more stress than usual, and some drivers struggle to cope with their frustration.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Tips to Avoid Causing Road Rage

While you can’t control other people’s emotions, you can minimize how much you antagonize them. If someone is directing aggressive behavior toward you, try the following techniques:

  • Don’t return rude gestures that angry drivers throw your way.
  • You can avoid becoming a contributor to road rage by avoiding eye contact with aggressive drivers. Unfortunately, making eye contact with angry drivers might enrage them further.
  • Stay behind drivers actively engaging in road rage behaviors. Even if they leave you alone, they could cause problems with other drivers around them.
  • Another good reason to put some distance between you and a road rager is that it will be easier for you to avoid brake checks.
  • If an aggressive driver is tailgating you, switch lanes as soon as you are safely able to do so.
  • Ensure that you pay attention to your surroundings. If you avoid cutting people off, going too fast or slow, and you obey other traffic laws, you likely won’t encounter any issues.

Road rage can lead to accidents, injuries, and even death. It’s hard to remain calm and avoid engagement with aggressive drivers, especially when you’re being treated unfairly. However, it’s best to let aggressive drivers forge ahead.

How to Avoid Your Own Road Rage

De-escalating your own road rage can be difficult, but it’s well worth the effort. However, there are things you can do to prevent road rage from happening in the first place.

One of the biggest causes of road rage is feeling rushed while driving — either you’re late for work or you need to get somewhere fast. You can avoid this situation by leaving earlier with plenty of time to spare. You can’t always avoid tardiness, but you’ll reduce the amount of time you spend being angry about running late.

Try playing calm, soothing music if your temper runs a little hotter than most. Select music that you find relaxing and skip tunes that pump you up.

Do your best to get enough sleep. Tired drivers are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors. You’re also more susceptible to getting in an accident if you’re tired while driving.

Mindfulness exercises can help, too. Try to remain self-aware when you’re behind the wheel, so that feelings of anger don’t creep up on you and assume control.

It also can help to practice empathy. Consider the last time that you accidentally cut someone off. You probably didn’t mean to make anyone angry, just as the person bothering you is likely not doing it on purpose.

Finally, never drink and drive. There are many reasons to avoid driving after consuming alcohol, one of which is that drinking gives you false courage and heightens aggression.

Keep in mind that drivers with reckless driving charges on their record can be affected by it for years. For example, a driver with multiple charges for brake checking or reckless speeding might need to obtain high-risk car insurance, which is more expensive.

What should you do if you are involved in road rage?

Sometimes, there’s simply no avoiding an interaction with an aggressive driver. If a driver is acting aggressively toward you and won’t back off after you’ve tried de-escalation, consider these safety precautions:

  • If they ask, gesture, or tell you to stop, don’t. People in the midst of road rage don’t want to talk, and pulling over allows them to attack you.
  • Be mindful of the aggressor following you. People have followed other drivers home and attacked them. If you think someone is following you, do not lead them to your home. Instead, drive straight to the police.
  • If a driver is behaving aggressively toward you and you’re worried about your safety, contact the police. They will help you determine what to do and send someone to stop the driver.

It can be tempting to stand up to a road rage driver, but you should always consider your safety first, particularly if you have passengers. Road rage incidents turn tragic too often, so take whatever opportunity you have to escape.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Find Affordable Insurance After Road Rage

Endangering other people on a highway while you are experiencing road rage is not only irresponsible, it also merits harsh penalties. You can accumulate tickets, fees, points on your license, be arrested, and even lose your license.

Engaging in aggressive behavior also puts you at risk. The person in the other car might have a gun and could retaliate against you, either due to rage or in fear for their life.

You’ll also face higher insurance rates for years to come after an incident appears on your record. If you have a history of aggressive driving, you could lose your policy altogether.

However, you need insurance to drive legally. You can avoid becoming a contributor to road rage with the tips above, and you can find the best insurance after an incident by comparing quotes. Enter your ZIP code into our free tool today to determine what rates might look like for you.

Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption