The 6 Most Common Causes of Road Rage

What gets your goat when you’re on the road?

You answer/s will most likely be shared by a lot of people. But do you lash out? Hopefully not. 

Still, 82% of drivers in the U.S. admitted to either having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the past year. Of these, 59% said they expressed their anger by honking, while 42% admitted to having cursed out loud or yelled at another driver.

Those are some staggering statistics. How did things get to that level?

Although there’s no telling exactly what will set someone off, some triggers are more “effective” than others. 

Here the 6 most common causes of road rage:


  1. Heavy traffic

Sitting in traffic, especially in the heat or in bad weather is never anyone’s idea of time well spent, let alone fun. However, some drivers are content to let out a mild curse or complain for a bit and then just inch along with forced calm. For the more impatient drivers, however, heavy traffic can feel like a good reason to unload on the first motorist to make the mistake of honking at them, cutting them off, or taking a second or two longer to move when the light turns green. 


  1. Impatience 

An impatient driver can easily throw caution out the window and drive erratically to get around and ahead of other motorists in their hurry to appointments or events that they see as more important than everyone else’s. Guess what happens when they overtake another impatient driver . . .


  1. Anonymity

What do the internet and the road have in common? They are a place where you can interact with someone whom you will most likely never see again. When you think about it, road rage is not unlike someone picking a fight with a stranger on YouTube’s comment section, to name just one place. The level of aggressiveness angry motorists display is fed by anonymity, by knowing the guy you just cursed out will not be sitting next to you at the office (or won’t he?).


  1. Texting while driving (and other forms of distracted driving) 

No one’s amused by distracted drivers. The sight of another car swerving, cutting other drivers off, changing lanes without signaling—it’s enough to make anyone concerned or annoyed, or both. Or in the case of impatient drivers, explode in rage.


  1. Learned behavior or habit

Sometimes it’s simply a case of some drivers not knowing better. That is, to them, aggressive driving is the norm. That’s cause for alarm.


  1. Disregard for the law and other people

Fact: There are drivers who simply can’t be bothered to observe traffic rules or show courtesy or be patient with other drivers. They either lash out at others or drive others like them to rage.

The rage is real. And that means we need to look at ourselves, at the way we react to situations on the road, and check any reaction we display that could be a form of road rage. Equally important, let’s take a good look at the way we drive and make sure we don’t set others off by needlessly causing delay, concern, fear—or rage.

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