Road Rage: Still A Major Problem in New York & Many Other States
Since many of us are still driving less due to the pandemic, we have forgotten how common road rage (or aggressive driving) has become both locally and elsewhere in the United States. Instead of maturely working through our unresolved frustrations, too many of us keep expressing our pent-up anger while driving – often overreacting to the minor traffic offenses of others.
Last summer, a 26-year-old man in Brooklyn died after being shot in the torso during a road rage incident. That tragic event unfolded while a shooter, traveling in a black SUV, and the other driver was taking Exit 1 off the Jackie Robinson Parkway on to Bushwick Avenue. After the shooter fired several shots into the victim’s vehicle, the 26-year-old man’s car crashed into a light pole and another vehicle. Witnesses said that the entire tragedy was due to road rage.
After exiting his vehicle, the young victim walked about 300 feet before collapsing onto the road. He was then taken to Brookdale Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. The cowardly shooters in the Black SUV (that supposedly had Connecticut license plates) fled the scene. Unfortunately, this young victim’s road rage death cannot be considered an isolated incident.
Here are some sobering statistics that reveal the extent of road rage in New York and other parts of America. That information is followed by useful tips for protecting ourselves against the road rage of others – while also better managing our own poor driving habits.
What current statistics reveal about our country’s epidemic of road rage
- During the past decade, more than 1,000 American deaths have been attributed to road rage.
- According to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), during just one single year of the past decade, 247 people died due to road rage aggression. Our country’s mushrooming mental health crises – also highly visible during mass shootings – appear to still be escalating.
- When you include injuries as well as deaths, an AAA (American Automobile Association) study revealed that an average of about 1,500 Americans annually suffers greatly due to aggressive driving. Many of these survivors are left permanently disabled.
- Since 2004, fatal accidents involving aggressive driving have increased almost tenfold.
- Sixty percent (60%) of drivers believe that road rage presents a personal threat to their own safety and that of their family. In November of 2020, a California road rage event involved an elderly man being beaten – and then repeatedly run over and killed by the other driver.
- During the past month, 30% of all drivers stated in a survey that their own safety had recently been at risk due to an aggressive driver. In Houston, Texas, strong new measures are now being enforced due to that city’s major rise in deadly road rage accidents.
- While a large percentage of dangerous and aggressive drivers are poorly educated young males, many other angry drivers are “successful” men and women with no past histories of criminal behavior or drug abuse. Therefore, nearly all of us drive poorly on some days — and we must all become more tolerant of other drivers.
- Study statistics reveal that weapons have been used in over 4.000 recorded road rage incidents. These weapons include both knives and firearms. It is quite frightening to note that Americans collectively own at least 200 million guns. Many of those firearms are regularly kept in drivers’ vehicles – often without the legal right to do so. Today, 37% of road rage incidents involve someone using a gun.
- Whenever any of us speed – we greatly increase the chances of a road rage incident. Sadly, the NTHSA has discovered that 86% of American drivers fail to understand that it is extremely dangerous to drive at least 10 mph faster than the posted speed limit. This denial is deadly – for all speeding plays a central role in road rage accidents.
- At least, two percent (2%) of those labeled by law enforcement as “aggressive drivers” have admitted that they tried to run other cars and trucks off the road during a recent road rage incident.
Everyone must start viewing all aggressive driving as serious — if we are to save our own lives and those of our family members and friends.
How can we decrease road rage incidents — and better manage our driving frustrations?
- Leave plenty of time to reach every destination. When you tend to run late regularly, you greatly increase your own chances of driving in an aggressive manner. This fact remains true, even if you personally never admit this to yourself.
- Never use a horn unless there is a pending, traffic emergency. The use of horns often increases stress for all drivers – and it can trigger a road rage incident.
- Never tailgate others or speed. These are very irritating behaviors and often lead to road rage encounters. If you constantly find yourself running late and speeding – find a way to always leave early. You may just need to take a book, iPad, or other device with you – so you will have something interesting to do while waiting for an event (or your workday) to begin.
- Obey all traffic signs and signals – and yield the right of way to others whenever possible. The main objective of driving is to reach your destination unharmed. Always try to avoid accidentally cutting other drivers off in traffic – and let someone else have an open parking space when you know they were waiting for it before you.
- Do not stress out over minor driving mistakes of others. If you are old enough to drive, you should be mature enough to cope with someone else taking “your” parking space, especially when it was not marked with your name. Likewise, never assume another person is driving slowly to bother you – they may simply be unfamiliar with the area and searching for a specific street or proper highway exit.
- Study an online or hard-copy map before going anywhere new. It is also best to write down important road exits, street names and other information – so you will not be slowing down traffic while you look for proper on-ramps, exits, and streets.
- If you believe you are the victim of road rage, head to your nearest police department or area where you think a cop will be parked. You should never get out of your vehicle to speak to someone who has been threatening you on the road.
- Be unique and different – obtain some therapy. If you are going through an unusually hard time in your life (and can afford it), seek out some sliding-scale therapy or counseling. Many people are deeply anxious and depressed during this pandemic. A close loved one may have COVID-19 – or have recently died. Another driver’s family may be having to cope with all new levels of poverty. And eviction is upsetting many others.
Always drive defensively – yet with a keen awareness that driving friendly gives all of us our best chance of reaching our destinations safely.
If you have suffered a serious injury due to someone else’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident, you need to contact our New York City personal injury law firm. We will carefully investigate all the facts of your case, review all your medical records, and then fight hard to win the maximum compensation available to you. We want every client to fully recover for all lost wages, pain and suffering, medical expenses, and other losses.