Road Rage vs. Aggressive Driving

Road rage and aggressive driving are often thought of as the same thing when it comes to angry driving. However, these two things are different. It is more common for aggressive driving to lead to road rage, but they differ by what type of offense it is. Aggressive driving is a traffic offense, while road rage is a criminal offense.

What's the Difference Between Road Rage and Aggressive Driving?

By definition, road rage is considered to be willful and wanton disregard for the safety of other drivers. Examples of aggressive driving, however, are speeding and/or tailgating even in heavy traffic conditions.

Aggressive driving is usually caused by drivers being impatient. When this happens, it is common for this anger and eagerness to turn into road rage. This may cause them to start yelling, throwing items or swearing at other drivers which are all examples of what is considered to be road rage. If you are driving and you start to notice a driver that is acting this way, it is important that you do not engage. You do not want to spark any more anger in them or cause them to put you, or others in danger.

Aggressive Driving Behavior

It is a common mistake to think that someone is engaging in road rage versus aggressive driving. Aggressive driving is extremely common in drivers. According to the National Safety Council, aggressive driving is a factor in 50% of all car crashes. The offenses that go along with aggressive driving are ticketable (traffic offenses), as stated above.

This could include:

  • Sudden lane changes,
  • Excessive honking,
  • Lane blocking, etc.

Road Rage Behavior

Actions that are defined as road rage, however, are much more serious. This can include using your car as a weapon to hurt another driver, nudging other cars with yours, or the use of actual weapons in extreme cases. Most of the time when these actions happen, the driver usually “snaps” and loses control. It is unlikely for one single incident to cause this to happen. This is why if you notice someone engaging in this type of behavior, steer clear and call the police to report it if you feel as if you or anyone else is in danger.

Avoiding Accidents Caused by Aggression and Road Rage

Fortunately, there are ways that you can prevent this happening to you. Getting angry or stressed while driving is usually stemmed from another stressor in your life. I know from personal experience, I get stressed out while driving when I am late. One way to prevent this is to be sure you get plenty of sleep the night before and be certain to set a few alarms to make sure you stay on schedule. You need to be sure you are giving yourself plenty of time to get to your destination due to other factors that may contribute to you being late, such as heavy traffic or an accident on the road. Although this may sound silly, you want to also be sure that you use the restroom before you leave home. This can be uncomfortable to drive in and cause you to hurry on the road. If you are stressed or angry while driving, it may be beneficial to pull over and allow yourself to calm down before getting back on the road. On the other hand, if you see this happening to another driver, allow them to pass you and try to stay away from them if possible.

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