20+ Mind-Numbing US Road Rage Statistics — 2020 Edition

This article features an overview of key road rage statistics, including occurrence rates, road rage injuries/death, and its impact on insurance.

Over the past few decades, the increased prevalence of personal cars and busy traffic on most of the world’s roads, have led to an alarming surge in the occurrence of road rage. The term generally refers to aggressive behavior vehicle drivers tend to exhibit, such as rude gestures, tailgating, cursing, brake-checking, physical assaults, honking, swerving, and more. 

This article is meant to provide an in-depth look at road rage statistics, in order to determine how common this behavior is, where it is most prevalent, how it is manifested, and whether it can cause injury or death. Other topics of interest include key facts on road rage, a comparison between aggressive driving and road rage, and its general demographics in the US. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Most Intriguing Road Rage Facts and Statistics in the US — Editor’s Pick

  • Road rage is the cause of approximately 30 murders every year in the US.
  • 8 in 10 Americans are involved in road rage behavior at least once a year.
  • Road rage is often listed as an exemption in numerous vehicle insurance policies, leading to zero coverage for road rage-related offenses.
  • Cases involving guns have doubled between 2014 and 2016, reaching 620 in 2016.
  • Approximately 47%, or 95 million, US drivers have yelled at another traffic participant, whereas 45% or 91 million drivers have excessively-honked in order to express their anger.

How Many Road Rage Fatalities Are There Each Year? 

  1. About 30 murders occur in the US every year due to conflicts sparked by road rage

According to this stat, road rage does not always cause fatalities “on the spot.” Rather, over 30 drivers who had their judgment clouded by road rage, went ahead and murdered their fellow drivers. 

This number does not account for car accident fatalities, caused by road rage behavior, since classing road rage as a direct accident cause is difficult, and it’s usually not reported as such by local law enforcement. Anecdotal reports seem to indicate that thousands of accidents are caused by road rage yearly, leading to several hundred fatalities.

Source: The Zebra

  1. Road rage facts reveal that roughly 8 in 10 of Americans deal with road rage at least once a year

This statement is also applicable to aggressive driving, granted that the same survey found that 82% of American drivers have engaged in this practice the past year. 

Source: The Zebra

  1. Tailgating, cutting others off, or driving while distracted represent the three main causes for road rage, according to road rage statistics

Such behaviors are bound to spark anger in other traffic participants, seeing how they are dangerous, irresponsible, and uncalled for. However, motorists should not let road rage fuel their driving habits.

Source: The Zebra

  1. According to psychologists, those who road rage do not regard other traffic participants as individuals

This behavior, therefore, encourages road rage and its overall severity, as indicated by statistics on road rage. The general idea here is that people are mindful of their actions targeted towards others, but not towards an object or another entity. 

Source: WebMD

  1. Studies show that the average road rager has engaged in this behavior at least 27 times

Thus, road rage is quite contagious and addictive. A few instances of road rage will likely turn into a lifetime habit of road rage-backed aggressive driving, as shown by road rage facts. This is completely unacceptable — hence why it is necessary for road rage occurrences to decrease; instead, the opposite is true. 

Source: WebMD

How Road Rage Manifests Itself and the Best Ways to Avoid It

Here are but a few examples of how road rage manifests itself on the road:

  • Excessive yelling, cursing, aggressive/offensive gestures directed at another person, according to the general road rage definition.
  • Attempting to fight the victim.
  • Intentionally crashing the car into the victim’s vehicle.
  • Tailgating.
  • Horning excessively, flashing lights.
  • Sideswiping.
  • Throwing objects at another traffic participant.
  • Attempting to run the other person off the road.
  • Driving aggressively, as in to scare other drivers.

Source: SafeMotorist

People who are prone to road rage can reduce occurrence rates through several calming strategies. These include:

  • Ensuring that you are not tired while behind the wheel, judging how insufficient rest encourages the loss of control, which in turn makes people more prone to anger, aggressive driving, and (ultimately) road rage, as shown in numerous road rage incidents.
  • Never drink and drive; alcohol reduces the ability to drive, gives false courage, and increases aggression, thus promoting road rage.
  • Leave earlier to ensure a timely arrival — this reduces the chances of getting angry over lost time in traffic.
  • Play calm and soothing music.
  • Attempt to remain fully self-aware while driving, as this can highlight specific undesirable behaviors, thus reducing personal road rage cases.

Source: WebMD

Here is a list of actions that you can do to avoid becoming the victim of road rage:

  • Never return rude gestures or show anger towards the road rager.
  • If a person is displaying extreme anger, it is best to remain behind them while in traffic — such behavior can reduce potential damage, as shown by aggressive driving statistics.
  • Do not make eye contact, as this can further stimulate the perpetrator’s rage and drive them into a frenzy.
  • Be mindful of potential brake checks.
  • Change lanes in case you are being tailgated by a road rager.
  • If matters escalate further (you are being followed or the road rager is trying to cause an accident), it is best to alert traffic law enforcement who are well-equipped in dealing with road rage reports.
  • Never stop when a road rager asks you to, as this could potentially lead to a fight.
  • Be mindful of traffic and remain self-aware of your roadside behavior at all times — do not break laws and try to avoid inconveniencing other drivers.

Source: WebMD

  1. Road rage is often listed as an exemption in numerous vehicle insurance policies, leading to zero coverage for road rage-related offenses

Based on this, numerous insurance agents consider US road rage risky behavior which is bound to cause road accidents. Therefore, if a police report highlights that a specific accident was fuelled by road rage, chances are that the insurer will not pay for damages. 

Source: III

  1. Insurance agents in some states may increase premiums by as much as 100% in the case of road ragers, stats on road rage incidents by state reveal

Vehicle insurance premiums are often calculated based on several factors, including a person’s driving history. Thus, an accident-prone driver will have to pay a higher rate compared to low-risk drivers. This is also the case with road rage — if the said behavior had caused the accident, and is reported as such in the database of the insurance provider, the annual premium rates will surely skyrocket. 

Source: The Zebra

Road Rage Deaths Statistics

  1. According to the NHTSA, road rage-related deaths have increased by over 500% within the last decade

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s report is quite chilling, especially when considering that these rates are still growing. Road rage can be combated by figuring out a smarter infrastructure for car transportation, in an effort to reduce traffic. The fewer drivers interact with one another, the lower the occurrence rate for road rage, as shown by a recent road rage study.

Source: NHTSA

  1. Most road rage-related deaths are regarded as deliberate murders of victims

Based on this, extreme road ragers are more than likely to become murderers, which is a very serious issue that should be dealt with by the authorities. 

Source: The Zebra

  1. Cases involving guns have doubled between 2014 and 2016

A total of 247 such cases were reported in 2014 in the US, yet the number of reported gun-related road rage fatalities, injuries, and scares doubled up to 620 in 2016. This stat refers to events where the road rager either showed or fired their gun at the victim in traffic.

Source: The Trace

  1. Between 2014 and 2016, 136 people were shot due to incidents of road rage in the US

This chilling stat does not only showcase the dangers of road rage but also the importance of gun control in the US, where shootings have become far too common. 

Source: The Trace

Aggressive Driving Statistics

  1. 16.9% of US-based fatal accidents in 2017 were caused by excessive speeding for current road conditions or racing

Such behaviors are often regarded as aggressive driving actions. Thus, the stat showcases that aggressive driving fuelled by road rage can considerably increase the chances of being involved in a fatal accident. Nevertheless, there are multiple factors that come into play in the case of fatal accidents — hence why it is difficult to determine how many road rage fatalities are there each year. 

Source: III

  1. Aggressive driving was indirectly responsible for causing a whopping 56% of all deadly accidents between 2003–2007

Forms of aggressive driving include (but are not limited to): erratic change of lanes, tailgating, speeding, racing, not yielding the right of way, passing in a prohibited area, unlawful driving on the road’s shoulder/median/sidewalk, failure to signal a change of direction, improper turns, failure to keep a safe distance from other vehicles, disobeying traffic signals, etc., as indicated by road rage accidents statistics.

Source: III

  1. 80% of US-based drivers were aggressive while behind the wheel at least once during the last year

This stat, provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, shows that aggressive behavior is way more common than people realize. 

Source: AAA

  1. At least 51% of Americans have engaged in purposefully tailgating other drivers, as shown by a recent road rage survey

This accounts for roughly 104 million drivers, which is a huge number seeing how tailgating is considered a form of aggressive driving, often caused by road rage. 

Source: AAA

Take a look at this data provided by the AAA highlighting just how many US drivers have engaged in specific forms of aggressive driving during the last year:

  • 47% or 95 million drivers have yelled at another traffic participant, according to stats on road rage.
  • 45% or 91 million drivers have excessively-honked to express their anger.
  • 33% or 67 million drivers have made offensive gestures as a result of road rage.
  • 24% or 49 million drivers have tried to prevent another car from switching lanes.
  • 12% or 24 million drivers admit to cutting off other cars on purpose.
  • 4% or 8 million drivers have exited their cars in order to verbally or physically confront another traffic participant.
  • 3% or 6 million drivers have purposefully hit another car in a road rage fit.

Source: AAA

Road Rage Statistics by State   

  1. Reports indicate that New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Phoenix, Miami, Houston, Cincinnati, and San Diego are cities where road rage is most common

The reason behind this stat is quite simple — these are big and dense cities, with hundreds of thousands of drivers. The current infrastructure, including the way of life, makes road rage an increasing possibility in the daily lives of most residents, as reported by road rage statistics by state and city. 

Source: Marketing Charts

  1. A survey has shown that drivers in Georgia, Tennessee, Missouri, and Minnesota are the least likely to engage in road rage behavior

There is no exact argument backing this claim, yet geographical demographics do seem to play an important role in whether people will road rage or not. 

Source: The Zebra

  1. Drivers based in Denver, Portland, Oregon, and Ohio are known for speeding the least 

Contrary to popular opinion, this statistic isn’t linked with the more active police speeding in the area. 

Source: The Zebra

Road Rage Statistics by Gender

  1. Most studies seem to indicate that men are more prone to express road rage than women

It seems that this fact is valid in most areas of the world. It isn’t only the gender that plays a role here, but rather the fact that there are considerably more male drivers on the road, as compared to female drivers, thus making them more likely to display such behavior.

Source: The Zebra

  1. Males are more often the victim of road rage, as road rage statistics by gender also reveal

According to a survey carried out by The Zebra, it seems that at least 39% of men have been victims of road rage. The percentage is much lower in the case of women, judging how only 28% of surveyed women were victims of road rage. Nevertheless, every day, millions of men and women fall victim to such behaviors — luckily, only minor incidences.

Source: The Zebra

Road Rage Statistics by Age

  1. Young men that are below 19 years of age are the most likely demographic to display road rage

Immaturity likely has a role to play, yet it is essential to teach young drivers that road rage is not a solution to any of the issues that may be encountered while on the road. 

Source: The Zebra

  1. Millennials are most likely to be involved in accidents caused by aggressive driving, according to young adult and teenage road rage statistics

The term ‘millennial’ refers to those who were born between 1981–1997 — thus, it is young adults who are often involved in rage-caused fatal accidents. 

Source: The Zebra

  1. Baby boomers (who are generally the oldest drivers) are least likely to engage in road rage or to be involved in accidents caused by road rage

Roadside reckless behavior seems to be lacking in the DNA of most baby boomers, as shown by a variety of road rage statistics by age.

Source: The Zebra

Bottom Line

Road rage represents a highly volatile behavior that poses a threat to both oneself and others on the road. It causes thousands of deaths around the world on a yearly basis and brings no benefit to either perpetrators or the victims. Luckily, it can be easily combated through increased awareness efforts, more severe penalties, improved roadside infrastructure, and therapy against rage in more severe cases. 

Lastly, we hope that our road rage statistics managed to express the severity of this behavior on US roads, thereby encouraging more efforts to combat this dangerous practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What percentage of accidents are caused by road rage?

It seems that up to 66% of traffic fatalities are indirectly caused by aggressive driving. Road rage itself causes fewer direct accidents, yet the practice still accounts for thousands of accidents each year, as indicated by road rage deaths statistics.

2. Who are the most prone to road rage?

Most studies seem to indicate that young male adults are most likely to manifest road rage behaviors.

3. How many people have died since 1990 due to aggressive driving?

The exact number is extremely difficult to assess. It is estimated that over 110,000 people die in accidents caused by aggressive driving every four years, road rage fatality statistics reveal. Hence, over 800,000 people have likely died in the US since 1990, due to this behavior.

55–60% of all car crashes to occur in the US have aggressive driving as one of the causes. Do keep in mind that aggressive driving by itself is not a cause for such accidents — it only becomes such when combined with other factors, such as failure to yield the right of way, driving through a red light, etc. This percentage is also common for most road rage incidents by state.

5. What is the difference between road rage and aggressive driving?

Aggressive driving is not directed at a specific person — rather, the aggressive driver speeds, changes lanes quickly, brakes fast, and disregards most traffic laws. Road ragers, on the other hand, are known to direct their behavior at other traffic participants. Common actions include tailgating, yelling offensive words at the other driver, ramming into their vehicle, and even engaging in physical combat, according to road rage statistics.

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