Road Rage Statistics

Road rage statistics in 2020

In October of 2019, The Zebra conducted a national survey of American drivers to determine their perception of the “road rage” phenomenon. The following data points are taken from the aforementioned survey. 

  • 82% of drivers in the U.S. admit to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the past year.
  • 59% of drivers reported showing anger by honking.
  • 45% of drivers report changing lanes without signaling. 
  • 42% of drivers claimed they've yelled or cursed loudly at another driver.
  • 38% said they've used rude or obscene gestures against other drivers. 

Most respondents said they did not report road rage to the police. More than half of the survey respondents said they had witnessed road rage, directed either at themselves or someone else.

  • Only 10% of drivers say they’ve actually called the police on another driver because of aggressive driving or road rage in the past year.

While not all road rage incidents have led to a physical confrontation, The Zebra found that: 

  • 7% got out of their vehicle to verbally confront another driver.
  • 6% threw objects.
  • 6% got in a physical altercation with another driver.
  • 5% sideswiped another vehicle.
  • 5% bumped or rammed another vehicle on purpose.
  • 5% forced another driver off the road.

According to our survey, the top three road-rage-inducing actions are:

  • Tailgating
  • Distracted driving
  • Getting cut off

If you find yourself experiencing road rage, our respondents used these methods to relax and settle down:

  • 62% suggested listening to music.
  • 23% think of something else.
  • 22% yell or curse to blow off steam.

 

More road rage statistics 

  1. What does road rage look like in the US?
  2. Aggressive driving vs. road rage
  3. Road rage statistics by state
  4. Road rage statistics by gender
  5. Road rage statistics by age
  6. Road rage deaths statistics
  7. Comparing road rage to drunk or distracted driving
  8. How road rage affects car insurance rates

 

Road rage in the United States: a statistical overview

  • In 2006, only 80 fatal crashes were related to road rage.
  • In 2015, the number of road rage-related fatal car accidents was up to 467, up 500% in just 9 years.
  • In 2014, 247 road rage incidents involved a gun.
  • In 2016, road rage cases involving a firearm increased to 620
  • 136 people were killed in firearm-involved road rage incidents from 2013-2017. 
  • Road rage has led to an estimated 300 deaths since 2013.

 

Road rage vs. aggressive driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has outlined legal differences between road rage and aggressive driving. Aggressive driving constitutes anything construed as reckless: tailgating, speeding, or blocking another car from passing. Road rage is more serious because it often involves a violent intent towards another driver. This includes behaviors such as using a vehicle to ram another car, physically fighting with another driver on the side of the road, or using a weapon to threaten or cause harm.

Here are some additional facts about aggressive drivers and road rage:

  • Road rage is legally classified as a criminal charge. This is because it is classified as a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.
  • Aggressive drivers can be ticketed as a traffic offense.
  • Other criminal road rage offenses include swerving into another car, forcing another driver off the road, shooting a gun into another car, tailgating behind a car, ramming another motorist, or performing brake checks in front of a vehicle.
  • 2% of drivers admit to attempting to run another driver off the road.
  • 86% of drivers believe it's safe to drive at least 10 miles per hour over the speed limit on the highway.

 

Road rage statistics by state:

The following statistics are taken from an analysis of FARS data done by Auto Insurance Center and the AAA foundation for Traffic Safety.

According to the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, there was about one deadly accident related to road rage per day in 2016. Here are the top ten states with the most deaths related to road rage or aggressive driving in 2016: 

State

Fatalities

Indiana

77

South Carolina

64

Alabama

64

Colorado

53

Wisconsin

22

Connecticut

16

Florida

15

New York

11

Arkansas

6

Texas

6

Road rage statistics by gender:

  • Studies on gender and traffic safety say males under the age of 19 are the most likely to exhibit road rage and tailgate.
  • However, in a study to explore those who say they experience road rage more than four times a week, 34% were 18-34 years old and female.

According to The Zebra’s survey, males are on the receiving end of road rage more often than females.

  • 39.2% of men have experienced road rage directed at them
  • 28.9% of women have experienced road rage directed at them

 

Road rage statistics by age:

It's usually assumed younger and less experienced drivers are involved in the greatest number of accidents. Studies have shown that to be true.

  • Those born between 1981 and 1996 (often termed Millennials) have been identified in taking part more than 50% of all aggressive driving accidents.
  • A generation before millennials (Gen X) took part in only 21% of all crashes involving rude gestures or aggressive driving.
  • Lastly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the generation next to retire (the baby boomers) were involved in the fewest crashes due to reckless behavior (4.2% of all crashes).

pie chart displaying road rage experiences by age group

 

These stats might be due to a misunderstanding in common road etiquette, often occurring a daily commute. Here are some follow-up facts about angry drivers by age:

Generation Y to Generation Z

  • 20% of millennials have admitted to “slowing down to annoy or educate people who want them to move over.”
  • About 60% of young people believe that the left lane has a specific purpose, and 30% use the left lane to cruise on highways.
  • Anger management issues might be the reason for some accidents: 20% of teenagers report anger issues.
  • 14% of aggressive driving crashes involve a driver aged 18 to 24.

Generation X:

  • Road rage was a factor in 25% of the fatal car crashes involving drivers aged 40 to 54. These road rage-related deadly crashes constituted 5% of all fatal traffic incidents.

Baby Boomers:

  • 70% of drivers aged 55 and older said the far-left lane is for passing, not cruising.
  • Fewer than 20% of seniors use the left lane for cruising.
  • Baby boomers contribute to 8% of deadly road rage accidents.  

Road rage deaths statistics

  • About 30 murders nationwide have been attributed to incidents that started with road rage.
  • The American Automobile Association (AAA) has linked more than 12,500 injuries to driver violence, out of 10,000 car accidents since 2007.
  • Of the deaths related to road rage, most have been considered deliberate murders.
  • Over a seven-year time period, more than 200 murders and 12,000 injuries were attributed to road rage.

Road rage vs. drunk driving

The Zebra’s national survey found:

  • 14.4% of respondents think road rage is more dangerous than drunk driving.
  • 36.4% of respondents think road rage is less dangerous than drunk driving.
  • 49.2% of respondents consider the aggressive behaviors equally dangerous.

Road rage vs. distracted driving

The Zebra’s national survey found:

  • 17.9% of respondents think road rage is more dangerous than distracted driving.
  • 27.3% of respondents think road rage is less dangerous than distracted driving.
  • 54.8% of respondents think the behaviors are equally dangerous.

 

Road rage and car insurance premiums

Road rage can lead to aggressive driving, a behavior that may have legal ramifications and fiscal downsides, especially as car insurance is concerned. Since 2012, insurance rates for driving violations (speeding, running red lights, racing, etc.) are on the rise.

Car Insurance Premiums by Violation - Road Rage pr2

 

Copyright © 2019 InsuranceZebra, Inc. All rights reserved. For inquiries regarding this content, please contact our team at statistics@thezebra.com.

FAQs about Road Rage 

What is road rage a symptom of?

Road rage can occur for many different reasons. Common triggers include excessive traffic, slow driving, and distracted driving. However, many times road rage is due to stress in other aspects of the driver's life. 

How do I stop my road rage anger?

There are many methods to relax and lessen feelings of road rage. Some include listening to music, thinking of something else, and yelling to blow off steam. However, stress management varies by person and you should find a mechanism that works best for you. 

What do you do if someone has road rage?

The best way to deal with someone experiencing road rage is to distance yourself from the situation. This is good practice whether you are in the car with someone experiencing road range or if someone is directing their road rage towards you as a driver.

Is road rage considered a crime?

Road rage is legally classified as a criminal charge. This is because it is classified as a willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others.

Resources:

https://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/Main/index.aspx

https://one.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/aggdrivingenf/pages/introduction.html

https://www.autoinsurancecenter.com/american-road-rage.htm

https://www.marketingcharts.com/industries/automotive-industries-9552

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/us/road-rage-guns.html

https://www.safemotorist.com/Articles/road_rage.aspx

 

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Taylor Covington LinkedIn

An “everyday expert," Taylor researches the finer points of insurance, technology, and personal finance. She is also a frequent contributor to home and lifestyle publications. In her hometown city of Austin, Texas, she can be found reading at Half Priced Books, or eating the world's greatest pizza at Via 313.