Dr. Helen

What Are the Biggest Road Rage Triggers?

Now, with Memorial Day and summer approaching, more people are taking to the road. According to this article at CNBC, road rage is just around the corner and these common triggers are sending people over the edge:


“As the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day sees a huge spike in the number of drivers on the road,” said Expedia General Manager John Morrey. “The rule, as with airplanes and hotels, is that shared spaces demand decorum and attentiveness.”

Despite the fact that almost every state has a law against texting while driving, the risky act is still unpleasantly common. It was rated by 69 percent of the drivers surveyed as the activity most likely to get their blood boiling. …

A close second on the list? The tailgater, who seems to think that by riding 3 feet off the bumper of the car ahead of them, they’ll somehow get to their destination quicker. About 60 percent of the respondents listed that as a top road-rage trigger.

Multitaskers; drifters, who can’t settle into one lane; and crawlers, who bump along at well below the speed limit, rounded out the top five.

Other road-rage inducing behaviors included the swerver, who will suddenly change lanes or turn without signaling, and left-lane hogs.

Curiously, the report found that 69 percent of those surveyed have been “flipped off” by another motorist for some perceived slight—but only 17 percent of those who responded to the study said they have ever extended the rude hand gesture.


Interestingly enough, last week I watched as a male pedestrian walked into oncoming traffic in the middle of an intersection and flipped everyone off while slowly crossing numerous lanes of traffic. All of the cars stopped even though the light was green and drivers gave him plenty of leeway to make it safely to the other side. I think everyone seemed to know he was mentally ill or drunk and gave him a wide berth. No one even honked. So I guess that in some situations, people respond politely and in others, they don’t.

Maybe if someone is obviously “crazy,” people give more of a pass, and if they are just rude, they don’t as much. Or maybe there is something about a heavy vehicle being thoughtlessly driven that is much more infuriating than a lone person walking who is thoughtless about their own safety.

What are your road rage triggers, if any?

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