driving full-tilt, foot on the pedal, into a brick wall

Aggressive driving is a significant factor in a striking number of fatal motor vehicle accidents. In this article, we analyze ways to successfully get out of dangerous road-rage scenarios.


The fact that speeding is the most common factor leading to fatal motor vehicle crashes may be disturbing but it’s probably not that surprising. Bad driving behaviors – such as speeding, distracted driving or drunk driving – can be expected to contribute to accidents involving big rigs, injuries, and property damage that otherwise could be avoided. What many may view as much more surprising, though, is the second most common factor in fatal car accidents. This, according to traffic data from the years 2003 to 2007, is aggressive driving and road rage. Fatal Accident Report System (FARS) administered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that, in the aforementioned time frame, aggressive driving was a major factor in 56% of all fatal accidents.

This fact is striking primarily because it shows that road rage is almost ubiquitous. If aggressive driving is a contributing component in half of all deadly car crashes, it means that road rage incidents must happen extremely often. However, other statistics related to road rage are even more concerning. According to one source, 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm and, in one seven-year period, road rage led to 218 murders and 12,610 injuries. Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage protects the victim if the other driver’s insurance doesn’t cover the full costs of personal injury.

The conclusion that can be drawn from these statistics is that road rage incidents pose one of the greatest threats to the health and safety of American drivers. Engaging in, or being on the receiving end of, aggressive driving can lead to catastrophic outcomes. Every driver should, therefore, be familiar with some effective techniques for avoiding, de-escalating or escaping such situations. In this article, we will present 5 effective ways to deal with this problem that may help drivers in potentially life-threatening road rage scenarios, improve your defensive driving skills with this 5 hour pre licensing course.

1. Learn to Identify Road Rage

The first way to effectively avoid road rage – either as a driver who may engage in this type of behavior or as the one who may be on the receiving end of it – is being able to understand what actions constitute aggressive driving and road rage. Even though these terms are often used interchangeably they are different in the eyes of the law. NHTSA, for example, states that aggressive driving refers strictly to the “operation of a motor vehicle in a manner that endangers or is likely to endanger persons or property”. This may include actions such as following improperly, improper or erratic lane changing, failure to yield the right of way, and many others. Aggressive driving is a traffic violation. Road rage, on the other hand, covers a wide range of actions of varying degree of intensity from “gesturing in anger or yelling at another motorist” to “confrontation, physical assault, and even murder”. If it involves more than gesturing or yelling, road rage is a criminal offense that can result in fines, jail time, or permanent criminal record.

2. Don’t Overuse the Horn

Car horns are loud and their sound is annoying. Of course, they are designed this way because their purpose is to alert other users of the road to a potential danger. A sudden, loud, and usually high pitch sound creates an emotional reaction that helps a person to react decisively. On the other hand, this means that if the car horn is used to vent anger and frustration rather than alert others of a danger, it can cause unnecessary stress and contribute to the escalation of aggression and violent behavior. In order to avoid that, drivers should use the car horn only if absolutely necessary.

3. Don’t Aggravate Other Drivers

While there can be no excuse or justification for aggressive driving or road rage, each driver can personally contribute to creating safer conditions by driving in a more courteous and considerate manner. Some good driving habits include:

  • Using signal lights
  • Avoiding DUI
  • Not hogging the lane
  • Driving with a steady, even pace


4. Don’t Take It Personally

Being on the receiving end of aggressive driving or verbal aggression and abuse can be difficult to take. A natural tendency may be to try to defend oneself. However, instead of seeing aggressive driving as a personal insult, it is much more productive to keep in mind that other users of the road have their own worries and stressors. Therefore, their actions, though inconsiderate and hurtful, have much more to do with their own problems than with the particularities of the morning traffic. Thinking about aggressive drivers in this way can help the victims of such aggression to stay calm in the face of the abuse.

14 thoughts on “driving full-tilt, foot on the pedal, into a brick wall”

  1. Greece should declare war on Germany and immediately surrender then as “South Bavaria” it could prosper in the Euro, Angela could then pay off its debts in return for all the sun-beds in Greece.

    Job done, this Statesman lark is quite easy really, once you get the hang of it.

  2. I wonder if the people who put together the Euro, and managed the Euro, and are now presiding over the destruction of Europe, are possibly the most highly qualified and highly paid group of professionals that the world has ever seen working together. I guess the very hairdressers in Bussels are MBAs.

    No, hang on, there are even greater minds, greater qualifications, and greater paychecks on Wall St. And just like the jerks in Brussels, they cock up, ‘from bean to cup’.

    But the public put up with it, so I guess they’ll carry on…

  3. The European Union was the coming together of a gang of Bullies with Germany and France as the leaders. In less that a few years they started acting like the bullies they wanted to be. Case in point is the Carbon Tax on Airlines on air space that does not even belong to them. The tax on the financial sector that UK opposes. These EU bullies got into a “we will do it because we can and want to” syndrome.
    Now the weaker of the bullies who joined them are being bullied because they can.
    Good Luck Greeks. Good Luck Spain. Good luck Portugal. Good Luck Ireland. No doubt they coined the acronym PIGS because that is what these bullies think of you.

  4. Hi Boris, what you are saying is what I have been saying for six years , from long before the “credit crunch” or the Lehman bust , before sovereign debt was wheeled out into the open , before derivatives were seen for the dastardly constructs that they are . I joined your “leaders group” hoping that once Brown was out of the way we might see some intelligent governance, sadly I am now despondent and disappointed with the actions of the “Coalition”. What is clear is that David Camerons obsession with gay marriage and employment law is tinkering around the edges because frankly he has no authority unless he has prior approval from Brussels.
    Until the financial system is reset , derivatives squared off and cancelled , debt purged and the State shrunk to a fraction of its current obscene size we will suffer endless economic “disappointments” as banks continue to be made whole and a totally impossible debt burden is placed on our shoulders through the perpetual increase in the national debt . The madness has to stop , people are committing suicide all over southern Europe and giving away their children because they can no longer feed them . The entire globe should default and then restart the system without bankers occupying the pinnacle of the worlds economy hollowing out productive industry in the process.

  5. Hi!, Patrons Of Boris Johnson Et Al:

    Oh!, how in the past we looked forward to such good times being measured by our best economic minds we were lead to believe but now here we are years later in the midst of the kinds of economic dissaray we wished to escape exchanging one kind of rottenness for another form of rottenness nowhere else to turn but down in the dumps. Goes to show that the best laid plans of mice and men can go extreemly astray from what was intended? If all else fails we can retreat to the sofa to watch eiher some football, baseball, basketball, hockey, soccer or rugby matches singing in our minds: “Let the world go away & take it of my shoulders!” Empires have come and gone people but “the world” still remains which is a vast glint of hope in an otherwise untamed atmosphere of monetary destruction from which mankind will live to learn another valueable lesson or two through the evolution of time. Take heart everyone mankind is very adaptable at overcoming their problems. We from the past will see this time someday as just another historical event that came and went as the chapters of our lives unfold. The book of life is far from the finish line and we’ll make it through this together too as we always have before.


  6. @ nigel foster
    Greece is still in war with GERMANY. There is still cease fire status.
    You would wonder if you know all about this story.

  7. Greece is and always will be a loss making enterprise. Wipe out their debts and we’ll be back here again in another 10-20 years. If an acceptable solution is found to the current untenable situation, the Germans will go back to their factories and resume work and the Greeks will grab a bottle of wine and go to the beach and celebrate their good fortune.

  8. I can see why the Germans are so keen on austerity. They don’t have to do it! Rather like some well known cabinet ministers.

  9. “just as London and the South East subsidise the rest of the UK.”

    London is a cancer and needs cutting out of the UK. The city spivs and specs have turned it into a casino where when they win they get bonuses and when they lose the rest of the UK has to pay.

    Can you tell me why what used to be my saving interest income has now gone to buy Londoners overpriced property? The biggest winners of low rates are those with the largest mortgages, those are on London property. Savers all over the UK are subsidising Londoners.

  10. Yes! It’s Germnany’s fault!
    Germany made the Greeks pay 80K per year for their overstaffed subway workers & their unions along with their economically unsustainable & mathematically impossible pension plans.
    Grow up, there is no free lunch, even if you put it on a credit card at low interest, the waiter will eventually arrive with a bill for it all to be paid.
    The Greeks (and Americans) will soon learn how to earn a realistic wage once again.

  11. Yes, this pretty much sums it up. Particularly;

    “So it is frankly unbelievable that we should now be urging our neighbours to go for fiscal union. It is like seeing a driver heading full-tilt for a brick wall, and then telling them to hit the accelerator rather than the brake.”


    “And all for what? To salvage the prestige of the European Project, and to spare the egos of those who were wrong”

    Politicians who admit they are wrong seem to be rather uncommon whereas politicians who get things wrong are very common indeed.

    Perhaps we should ask all these European politicians if they would like to share their neighbours debts?

  12. No, please Greek do not – with some 350 lousy tanks and a 180,000 men enlarged police force in the German arsenal (the rest of the our once proud army got scrapped for Euro-support and bountiful social welfare programs for knife-stabbing, cultural enriching new citizens preferably from the Muslim world) plus adipose and illiterate enlisted men plus socialist-style `Gutmenschen` (`do good`)-politicians and Mrs. Merkel as a supreme commander, the Greek army would most probably hoist the Hellenic flag over the Berlin `Reichstag` within less than 2 weeks.

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