Some 57% of Americans say they have witnessed angry driving during the pandemic. Even worse, three in 10 people claim they've been the victim of angry or aggressive driving during the past two years, according to a recent survey from Policygenius.
Hostile drivers pose a real threat to other drivers and the data suggests that aggressive behavior behind the wheel worsened since the onset of the pandemic.
For example, nearly half of those surveyed — 46% — said they believe angry driving has happened more frequently during the pandemic. Some 34% said they've seen this increase over the past two years, while another 12% said they've only noticed incidents increasing within the past year.
The survey defined aggressive driving as deliberately following another car too closely, changing lanes quickly without a signal to prevent another car from passing, and making verbal or physical gestures to other drivers. Any of these behaviors can up the chances for a collision.
Yet interestingly, many survey respondents admitted to engaging in aggressive driving themselves. Road rage is real, and it’s on the rise.
For example, one quarter of those surveyed said they have shouted at other drivers or used their horns for long periods of time. What’s more, 24% admitted to making criticizing or threatening gestures, 12% said they tailgated, and 12% purposefully cut off or blocked others. Perhaps most alarming, 5% of respondents admitted to chasing other drivers and 5% even got out of their car to confront others.
The survey also explores who is most hot under the collar when behind the wheel. Not surprisingly, parents of young children seem to have little tolerance for other drivers. More than half of parents with children under 18 (53%) admitted to at least one form of road rage, compared to those without children (46% admitting to road rage) and those with children older than 18 (49%).
Disturbingly, the survey also finds that many people believe aggressive driving is justified — indicating a need to educate the public about the link between aggressive driving and crashes. In fact, more than half (56%) of respondents said angry driving is justified at least sometimes, especially those aged 18-34 (70%) — the highest of any age group.