Road Rage: Nearly 80 percent of drivers do it

HOUSTON – Everyone can get a little angry when driving, when stuck in traffic or stuck at a light. Some are angrier than others. A new AAA study shows drivers are way angrier than you might think.

Eighty percent of Americans express anger, aggression, or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the past year, according to the study.

Eight million Americans are engaged in extreme examples of road rage.

Like one intense display of road rage in northwest Harris County at the busy intersection of Highway 6 and Highway 290 back in May.

Kay Hafford almost lost her life last year after she honked at another driver while on her way to work.

The other driver began taunting Hafford and eventually pulled up next to her near the North Freeway and Richey Road and shot her in the head.

"My recovery actually, amazingly has been really, really, really good," Hafford said. "The only thing I may have been dealing with currently is just headaches."

Keeping your cool on the road is the strategy for Houston Astros right fielder George Springer. He just happened to be at a gas station Thursday near Kirby and Highway 59.

"Me personally, I just like to stick to myself and get from point A to point B," Springer said.

So while other drivers may give you headaches, AAA said to remember, it isn't worth your life.

According to a AAA survey, nearly eight in 10 drivers in the U.S. reported engaging in angry and aggressive behaviors in the previous year, including:

  • 51 percent (104 million drivers) said they purposely tailgated.
  • 47 percent (95 million drivers) yelled at another driver.
  • 45 percent (91 million drivers) honked to show annoyance or anger.
  • 33 percent (67 million drivers) made angry gestures.
  • 24 percent (49 million drivers) tried to block another vehicle from changing lanes.
  • 12 percent (24 million drivers) cut off another vehicle on purpose.
  • 4 percent (7.6 million drivers) got out of a vehicle to confront another driver.
  • 3 percent (5.7 million drivers) bumped or rammed another vehicle on purpose.

The study also found that male drivers and drivers between 19 and 39 were significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors, while the angriest drivers were in the northeast.

In order to prevent road rage, AAA suggests:

  • Don't offend. Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. That means not forcing another driver to use their brakes, or turn the steering wheel in response to something that you have done.
  • Be tolerant and forgiving. Don't let emotions interfere by assuming that the other driver intentionally did something to offend.
  • Do not respond. Avoid eye contact, don't make gestures, maintain space around your vehicle and contact 911 if needed.