What you’ll learn reading this article:
- Indiana has the nation’s highest rate of road rage deaths.
- Drivers should stay alert to all kinds of aggressive driving on the road.
- Follow our tips to avoid road rage.
Do you know Indiana leads the nation in road rage fatalities? A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) puts the Hoosier state in the unfortunate top spot for the number of annual fatalities that result from aggressive driving.
The NHTSA defines road rage as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property.” Road rage involves aggressive driving that puts peoples’ lives at risk on the road.
A seven-year nationwide study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) attributes 218 deaths and 12,600 injuries to road rage. While road rage fatalities are on the decline overall in the U.S., certain states have seen a spike in road rage and aggressive driving – and Indiana is one of them.
Indiana Drivers are Full of Rage … Right?
So why all the road rage in Indiana? Looking at the NHTSA numbers, you’d think Indiana drivers are raging across the state picking fights all over the road.
Maybe, or maybe not. Some experts say the NHTSA figures don’t tell the whole story. Different states report traffic deaths in different ways, and some types of aggressive-driving deaths aren’t technically considered road rage incidents in some states.
It’s possible that Indiana is simply doing the best job of reporting road rage fatalities. It’s also possible that fatalities aren’t the most accurate measure of overall driving aggression. For example, two separate studies by Carsurance and SmartAsset find that Mississippi has the worst drivers in the nation when you factor in DUIs, fatalities per 100,000 miles driven and speeding tickets.
Still, it’s concerning that Indiana is anywhere near the top of the NHTSA list. In a period where Indiana reported 77 road rage fatalities, the second, third and fourth states in the nation – Colorado, South Carolina and Alabama – had between 53 and 64 deaths. These states also had thousands fewer non-fatal road rage injuries.
How to Avoid Rage on the Road
If you’ve ever felt a sudden burst of anger while driving, you’re certainly not alone. Fully 80% of all drivers admit to having felt rage while driving. Research shows that teenagers and young men are at the highest risk of road rage behaviors.
Road rage can include any of the following: tailgating, accelerating rapidly, brake checking, honking, passing closely, cutting into traffic, making rude gestures and yelling things out the window. It can even involve making frustrated comments to the passengers in your car or whipping out your phone and texting angrily. An NBC News study finds that 60% of people consider texting-and-driving to be a form of aggressive driving.
To de-escalate tense situations and avoid road rage incidents, follow these tips:
Slow down and steer clear. If someone tries to cut you off in traffic or exhibits other signs of aggressive driving, give them plenty of space and don’t engage with them.
Beware of tailgating. Tailgating is a common behavior that triggers road rage incidents. Allow two full car lengths between yourself and the car in front of you. If someone tailgates you aggressively, stay calm and don’t escalate the situation.
Avoid gestures and eye contact. When you make hand gestures or direct eye contact, you’re inviting confrontation. Stay calm and stay out of the other person’s field of view.
Be willing to take a break. If you can see another driver exhibiting signs of aggressive driving, it’s better to move away from them and take a different path to your destination. A short detour could prevent a road rage incident and save your life.
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