A new study by the Automobile Association of America indicates that road rage is a contributing factor in 56% of fatal crashes. The study also shows that 90% of drivers feel at risk from aggressive driving.

According to David Whiting, a columnist with the Orange County Register, there have been several road rage incidents in the Southern California region that have been fatal.

  • In Tustin, a BMW driver shot another driver with a .40-caliber handgun.
  • Two drivers exchange angry words on the 605. One of the drivers even gets out of his car to yell. The other driver rams into the man with his car, killing him.

There have also been several other incidents in Southern California that were not fatal, but were still extremely dangerous.

  • In Rancho Santa Margarita, a woman honks at another driver. The car that was honked at stops and the driver gets out of the car. The driver kicks the woman’s driver-side door. The woman moves her car in front of the other one, blocking it from leaving.
  • Two men in Aliso Viejo get out of their car and threaten another driver with a handgun. One of the men punches the other driver in the face.

These accidents occur every day, and are an extreme danger to you and your family. According to Vic Ray, a police officer with 28-years’ experience in Irvine, says that he started to become more aware of the dangers of road rage when he was teaching his son to drive.

His son, who had just started taking driving lessons with an instructor, would point out all of the mistakes he was making.

First, he didn’t leave at least a car’s length between his car and the car in front of him.

“Why jeopardize your life with a car length?” Ray realizes now, “You get where you’re going in the same amount of time.”

Ray also likes to think that there is some sort of cosmic “road karma.”

“Give the gift of the space in front of you,” he counsels, “and I guarantee that you’ll immediately feel warm and fuzzy about your generosity.

“When people cut you off or don’t wait their turn, don’t get angry, yield. Just remember they were you only yesterday, a stressed out motorist on their way to an early heart attack.”

Ray advises that it is important to remember that jeopardizing your life because you are in a hurry is dangerous to you and others. Studies have found that being an aggressive driver has almost no impact on travel time.

He also says that driver’s should worry less about road revenge. If another driver is a jerk on the road, it’s best to just let it be and continue on your way, according to Ray.

Ray now teaches driving safety and driver’s education courses and reminisces about the way that he used to drive.

“I had an epiphany about the way I drove,” says Ray. “‘I drove angry. I drove like a cop rolling to calls in the family sedan, something my wife said but I denied.”

He indicates that the biggest changes you can make as a driver are being aware at intersections, not only of oncoming traffic but also of pedestrians, and being less stressed out when you drive.

He says that now that he has eliminated a lot of the stress from his commute, he feels less stress at work and at home.

It is important to keep in mind that being stressed by other drivers will not make your commute any easier, nor will it get you to your destination any faster. Road rage is serious and aggressive driving could harm you or your loved ones, so remember to drive safely.

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