A vast majority of motor vehicle accidents are caused by small mistakes or oversights. Others are caused by drivers distracted by their mobile devices, while more dangerous crashes occur due to a driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Another highly dangerous category has taken “center stage” in a post-pandemic environment where the accident is not necessarily accidental.
Accidents caused by uncontrolled anger
Road rage has always been an issue on the roads of California and throughout the United States. However, a global pandemic that saw fewer vehicles out and about also lead to unprecedented levels of violence. While most US residents have experienced stress and tension over the past year-and-a-half, the reasons behind the rage go beyond lockdowns creating cabin fever.
Usually, acts of poor or inconsiderate driving are met with horn honks or a certain finger extended for the other driver to see. Angry drivers are stopping their cars and exiting their vehicles, ready for a fight, which has become more commonplace. Minor “fender benders” turn into major events that put lives at risk. Those losses of temper have resulted in losses of life.
Altercations ranging from running over drivers to gunfire aimed at the other vehicle are reaching an epidemic level.
Increasing acts of violence
Everytown for Gun Safety looked at data collected by the Gun Violence Archive. The national gun violence prevention organization reported that an average of 42 people per month were wounded or killed in acts of road rage last year. That number doubled the average in 2016.
When the vehicle is the actual weapon in a road rage incident, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration cited 446 fatal crashes resulting in 502 deaths in 2019.
With violent crime taking over the country at unprecedented levels, police forces and safety advocates are preaching proactive steps that include maintaining safe distances from other vehicles, using turn signals, and peacefully allowing merges.
A non-confrontational approach should be the default as opposed to blaring horns and obscene gestures. Feeling threatened should involve a call to 911, not aggressively and angrily leaving the vehicle.
Remaining calm can save lives.