The following is an excerpt from an article on "SafeMotorist.com".
"The term Road Rage was coined by local news station KTLA in Los Angeles after a string of shootings occurred on several freeways in the city. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when a driver "commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle".
The NHTSA makes a clear distinction between road rage and aggressive driving, where the former is a criminal charge and the latter a traffic offense. This definition places the blame on the driver.
Road Rage Quiz
You may like to think that road rage is something that only happens to other people, but the truth is many of us are guilty of aggressive behavior on the road. Ask yourself these questions and answer honestly:
- Do you regularly drive over the speed limit, or try to "beat" red lights because you are in a hurry?
- Do you tailgate or flash your headlights at a driver in front of you that you believe is driving too slowly?
- Do you honk the horn often?
- Do you ever use obscene gestures or otherwise communicate angrily at another driver?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is possible you are susceptible to road rage. Many times when a road rage incident occurs it is because the person was under stress in other areas of their life. The addition of congested traffic can add to stress, which then explodes when it is perceived someone else on the road has acted in an aggressive way, whether intentional or not.
Do You Cause Road Rage?
Even if you answered no to the questions above, are you sure you aren’t causing others to lash out with road rage? Ask yourself these questions as well:
- Do you frequently use your phone while driving, or otherwise drive while distracted?
- Do you keep your high beams on, regardless of oncoming traffic?
- Do you switch lanes or make turns without using your turn signal?
- Do you fail to check your blind spot before switching lanes to make sure you aren’t cutting someone off?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be contributing to causing road rage in others. While a violent reaction to switching lanes without a turn signal isn’t warranted, it’s best to not put yourself in that situation to begin with by always being aware of other drivers and driving cautiously.