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Road rage data shows 5 things drivers should know about fury behind the wheel

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Road rage is, unfortunately, common. According to the American Automobile Association’s 2022 Traffic Safety Index, 89% of American drivers reported that they had fallen victim to aggressive behavior on the road

Fox News Digital has covered a swath of incidents in which angry drivers have hit, attacked and even killed others on the road

On Tuesday, Pennsylvania State Police said a 59-year-old man shot a 40-year-old driver in the head on the busy Pennsylvania Turnpike. The victim died several days later in a hospital, according to Fox 29. 

When police found the tractor-trailer connected to the shooting, they found the 59-year-old alleged perpetrator dead inside with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

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Road rage incidents prompted 481 shootings between 2014 and 2023, according to The Trace.

LendingTree Inc., an online loan marketplace, compiled data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Fatality Analysis Reporting System involving road rage behaviors in 2022 — aggressive driving, road rage, careless driving, inattentive operation, improper driving and driving without due care — to determine which drivers are most likely to fly off the handle behind the wheel.

Here are five things drivers should know about fury on the roads.

1. Chevy and Ford drivers top the list

Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 drivers caused the most road rage fatalities, and Chevrolet and Ford were the most common vehicle types being driven by drivers involved in fatal road rage incidents, the LendingTree study showed.

Truck drivers of various models were the most likely to cause deadly crashes involving aggressive behavior, according to the study, with Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 drivers topping the list. 

Of 3,514 total fatal incidents involving road rage behaviors, Silverado drivers caused 133 crashes nationwide in 2022 – more than any other make and model, according to the study. In second place, Ford F-150 drivers caused 95. 

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The popularity of these vehicles plays into these findings. Both pickup trucks have been top-selling models in the U.S. for years, according to Statistica. Chevrolet and Ford did not respond to requests for comment.

Cars made by Chevrolet comprised 439 of 3,514 fatal crashes involving aggressive behavior, according to data compiled by the study, while Ford drivers were involved in 412. Honda, the third-most represented vehicle make among the crashes, was involved in 275 crashes. 

Popularity also plays a role here. Their models were the most popular in 29 of 50 states in 2022, according to LendingTree. 

Notably, motorcycle makers Harley-Davidson and Yamaha ranked sixth and ninth on the top 10 list, respectively, for vehicle makes involved in fatal crashes. 

The comparative danger of riding a motorcycle could play a role in these numbers. The fatality rate per miles traveled for motorcyclists was 30.20 in 2021, nearly 24 times the passenger car occupant fatality rate of 1.26.

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2. Men cause nearly 80% of fatal crashes involving aggressive or careless drivers

Of 3,514 traffic fatalities caused by these factors, according to the LendingTree study, 2,756 were caused by men. Comparatively, only 19.1% of the fatal accidents were caused by women.

According to data gathered by the American Automobile Association’s most recent Traffic Safety Culture Index, men are more likely to exhibit road rage behaviors and have road rage behavior directed at them. This includes tailgating, dangerous merging, honking and using rude gestures. 

Men are also five times more likely to insure trucks, according to the study, and the Chevrolet Silverado and Ford F-150 were the most popular vehicles among male insurance shoppers.

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3. Millennials were the most likely to be in fatal crashes involving aggressive behavior, outpacing younger generations 

Millennial drivers — those between the ages of 26 and 41 in 2022 – accounted for 35.7% of crashes reviewed by the study. 

Although they make up just 13.3% of the total U.S. population, Gen Zers who were between 18 and 25 that year accounted for 21.4% of these fatalities.

Carelessness was likely a factor, study writers wrote. Young drivers are more likely to make critical errors or underestimate dangerous situations behind the wheel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

From there, based on the data, it seems that drivers are less likely to display road rage the older they are. Gen Xers accounted for 20.7% of the incidents and baby boomers were driving in 13.8% of the crashes. Silent Generation motorists, between 77 and 94 years old in 2022, accounted for just 3.5% of the incidents.

4. Fatal road rage incidents were far more likely in Louisiana than in any other state

Of 852 fatal crashes in Louisiana in 2022, 40.1% involved aggressive behavior or careless driving, according to the study. 

That’s significantly higher than the second-ranked state, Delaware. There, of 143 fatal crashes, 25.9% involved behaviors associated with road rage.

Other states with larger populations had a higher number of these incidents. In Florida, 700 of 3,298 total fatal crashes involved aggressive driving. But that only accounted for 21.2% of the incidents.

Conversely, Maine had zero fatal crashes involving aggressive driving, while Mississippi and Minnesota had one fatal crash each involving those behaviors in 2022. 

5. How can you protect yourself against angry drivers?

Rob Bhatt, an insurance agent with LendingTree Inc., recommended drivers familiarize themselves with the leading causes of car crashes and avoid them.

“These include speed, impairment and distraction,” he said. “We can each choose to avoid these behaviors. Unfortunately, too many others choose not to.”

If you are confronted by an angry driver, Bhatt said, do not engage. 

“You never want to escalate a situation when someone is yelling, honking or gesturing at you, regardless of who is to blame for an unsafe action,” he said. “In fact, avoid eye contact altogether.” 

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