This is one of those times when being a road rager goes terribly wrong.
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Road rage is aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by a driver of a road vehicle, which includes rude gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver or a pedestrian in an effort to intimidate or release frustration. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions that result in serious physical injuries or even death. It can be referred to as an extreme case of aggressive driving.The term originated in the United States in 1987–1988 from anchors at KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles, California, when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the Interstate 405, 110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that examined police records nationally, there are more than 1,200 incidents of road rage on average reported per year in the United States, a number of which have ended with serious injuries or even fatalities. These rates rose yearly throughout the six years of the study. A number of studies have found that individuals with road rage were predominantly young (33 years old on average) and 96.6% male. In Germany, a gun-wielding truck driver was accused of firing at more than 762 vehicles and arrested in 2013, an exceptional case of road rage. According to authorities, the autobahn sniper was motivated by “annoyance and frustration with traffic.”
In some jurisdictions, there can be a legal difference between “road rage” and “aggressive driving.” In the U.S., only a few states have enacted special aggressive driving laws, where road rage cases are normally prosecuted as assault and battery (with or without a vehicle), or “vehicular homicide” (if someone is killed). The legal definition of road rage encompasses a group of behaviors expressed while driving, or stemming from traffic-related incidents. The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when “an individual commits a combination of moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger(s) of one motor vehicle on the operator or passenger(s) of another motor vehicle caused by an incident that occurred on a roadway.” This definition makes an important distinction between a traffic offense and a criminal offense.
A stressed driver’s behavior depends on that driver’s coping abilities. Generally, drivers who scored high on aggression tests used direct confrontation strategies when faced with stress while driving. Strategies include long horn honks, swerving, tailgating and attempting to fight the other driver. Many drivers who experience road rage have admitted that they believe they commit more traffic violations. Driving presents many stresses any time a person is behind the wheel because of high speeds and other drivers making different decisions. As stress increases, the likelihood of a person having road rage increases dramatically, and if a person has road rage, their stress levels increase. Typically, younger males are most susceptible to road rage.