Managing Road Rage

Road rage—aggressive or angry behavior exhibited by motorists—is prevalent on U.S. roadways. In fact, nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous 30 days, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Because of the pervasiveness of such behavior, any business that utilizes employees to operate company-owned vehicles should provide training on road rage and how to prevent it.

What Causes Road Rage?

Road rage is often caused by inconveniences and incidents that occur while driving, usually in a retaliatory fashion. Some common forms of road rage include:

  • Yelling
  • Honking
  • Tailgating
  • Purposely cutting off other cars
  • Initiating confrontation outside of the car
  • Intentional ramming

While most instances don’t go further than expletives and hand gestures, road rage can lead to violence. It’s also a factor in more than 50% of all car crashes that end in a fatality, according to the AAA. Some of the most common causes of road rage are:

  1. Heavy traffic—Stalled traffic can cause impatient drivers to get frustrated, allowing minor inconveniences to set them off more easily.
  2. Anonymity—Some drivers believe they can get away with honking, gesturing or cutting people off because there’s a sense of anonymity behind the wheel.
  3. Distracted driving—Observing distracted driving behavior—such as swerving and cutting people off—can be scary and result in anger directed toward the irresponsible driver.
  4. Impatience—Drivers who are running late or feel their time is more important than others’ tend to drive more erratically.

Road Rage Prevention

It’s impossible to control the actions of others, but drivers—especially those operating company-owned vehicles—can control how they respond. To prevent road rage, drivers should follow the rules of the road, including maintaining adequate following distance, using turn signals and allowing others to merge. Along with abiding by the rules of the road, the following can help minimize instances of road rage:

  • Leave on time. Lateness can lead to unsafe driving, and drivers should plan for construction, traffic crashes and other delays to give themselves plenty of time to reach their destination.
  • Cool down first. Drivers who are angry—for example, driving after an argument—should hold off before getting behind the wheel.
  • Have empathy. Drivers shouldn’t take others’ actions personally, and they should have patience while sharing the road.


Road rage can happen to anyone and can threaten the well-being of everyone on the road. However, drivers can keep calm and safe with the proper training and techniques. For more risk management guidance, contact us today.

This Risk Insights is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as legal advice. Readers should contact legal counsel or an insurance professional for appropriate advice. © 2022 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

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