Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving



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Road rage has the potential to end in the loss of life (see statistics below). Be it as a result of an unnecessary accident or a physical altercation.

I have purposely avoided featuring violent videos as this is not what I want to sensationalize, but feature a milder form of anger to show situations to avoid and indicate just where things can quickly escalate to.

You have more control over your behavior than someone else, so these are the things you can do.

Control your anger:

  • Give yourself enough time to get to your destination.

  • Don’t reciprocate. Ignore the temptation to react to the other driver.

  • Do not make obscene gestures.

  • Do not tailgate.

  • Use your horn sparingly – even a polite honk can be misinterpreted.

Avoidance measures:

  • Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver.

  • If someone wants to pass, slow down and let them.

  • Stay behind the person who is angry at all costs. They can do less damage if you are behind them.

  • Don’t stop. Stopping could lead to a person-to-person confrontation, which could be dangerous. If they have forced you to a stop, make sure you have either enough space in front to go around them, or behind you to reverse out the way.

  • If necessary, pull off the road or take an exit and let them go on by.

Some of the areas to look out for that can escalate a situation to Road Rage:

? Question:

🛈 Info:

Thinking Attitude Rage

Brake Checking

Allow enough space between yourself and the vehicle ahead. Where possible it is preferable to take another route to avoid any sort of road rage.


A driver could be enraged to the point of intentionally crashing his vehicle into another. Try and deescalate the situation well before it reaches this point.

Cut Off

A driver may purposely try and cut off another driver adjacent to him. This is especially dangerous at high speed. Always try to keep the enraged driver in front of you which makes it easier to control the situation.


Because they are more vulnerable, a pedestrian may be more prone to road rage. Always give pedestrians due consideration and courtesy.


Should a driver stop his vehicle, and especially when he climbs out, then the chances are that the drive has reached the point of road rage. See if you can either back out of the situation are safely travel around his vehicle with a wide enough berth to avoid him lashing out at your vehicle.


Rather give way to anyone tailgating you instead of angering them further by not allowing them to pass. We always want to try and avoid a situation from escalating to road rage where it is dependent upon us.

? What are the types of road rage?

  • Road rage can manifest in various ways, and different classifications of road rage have been proposed. While there is no universally agreed-upon categorization, here are some common types of road rage:

  • Verbal aggression: This involves shouting, cursing, or using offensive language towards other drivers. It can include insults, threats, or engaging in heated exchanges.

  • Gesture-based aggression: Displaying aggressive hand gestures, such as raising the middle finger or making other offensive gestures, is a form of road rage. These gestures are often used to express anger, frustration, or disrespect.

  • Tailgating: Tailgating refers to driving too closely behind another vehicle, often with aggressive intent. It can intimidate the driver ahead and potentially lead to rear-end collisions or other dangerous situations.

  • Horn honking: Excessive or prolonged honking of the horn, especially when it is used to vent frustration, intimidate, or harass other drivers, falls under road rage behavior.

  • Aggressive maneuvering: Engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, such as weaving in and out of traffic, abruptly changing lanes without signaling, cutting off other vehicles, or racing, is considered aggressive maneuvering.

  • Physical confrontations: In extreme cases, road rage incidents can escalate to physical altercations, where drivers or passengers become physically aggressive towards each other. This can involve physical assaults, throwing objects, or damaging vehicles.

  • It's important to note that road rage behaviors can range from minor displays of frustration to more severe and dangerous actions. Regardless of the specific type, road rage can lead to accidents, injuries, and legal consequences. It is crucial to practice safe driving habits, remain calm, and avoid escalating conflicts on the road.

? Is road rage a crime?

  • Road rage itself is not a specific crime, but the aggressive and dangerous behaviors associated with road rage can lead to criminal charges depending on the jurisdiction and the severity of the incident. Some common criminal offenses that can result from road rage incidents include

  • Reckless driving: Engaging in aggressive driving behaviors, such as excessive speeding, tailgating, weaving through traffic, or running red lights, can be considered reckless driving. Reckless driving is a criminal offense in many jurisdictions.

  • Assault: If a road rage incident escalates to physical violence, such as physical attacks or the use of weapons, it can result in assault charges. Assault laws vary by jurisdiction, but intentionally causing harm or putting someone in fear of imminent harm can lead to criminal charges.

  • Vehicular assault: When a person intentionally uses their vehicle as a weapon to harm another person, it can lead to charges of vehicular assault or aggravated assault with a vehicle. This typically involves intentionally hitting or trying to hit another vehicle or a pedestrian.

  • Attempted vehicular manslaughter or murder: In extreme cases where road rage leads to a deliberate and premeditated act of trying to kill another person using a vehicle, charges of attempted vehicular manslaughter or murder may apply. These charges involve an intent to cause serious bodily harm or death.

  • Imprisonment and fines: Road rage incidents can lead to imprisonment and fines.

It's important to remember that the legal consequences of road rage incidents can vary based on the specific circumstances, jurisdiction, and applicable laws. It is always best to prioritize safety, remain calm, and avoid engaging in aggressive behaviors while on the road.

? Will insurance cover road rage?

Whether insurance covers road rage incidents depends on the specific circumstances, the insurance policy, and the jurisdiction in which the incident occurs. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Auto insurance coverage: If you have comprehensive or collision coverage in your auto insurance policy, it typically covers damage to your vehicle resulting from accidents, including those caused by road rage incidents. However, it's essential to review your policy and understand the specific coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions.

  • Liability coverage: If you are the aggressor in a road rage incident and cause damage to another person's vehicle or property, your liability coverage may come into play. Liability insurance typically covers the costs of property damage or bodily injury you cause to others, subject to policy limits.

  • Criminal behavior exclusion: Some insurance policies may have exclusions for criminal activities. If your road rage incident involves intentional criminal actions, such as assault or attempted vehicular manslaughter, your insurance policy may not cover the resulting damages or legal fees.

  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: If you are the victim of a road rage incident caused by another driver who does not have insurance or has insufficient coverage, your uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may help cover your damages. This coverage varies depending on your policy and jurisdiction.

It's important to review your insurance policy and consult with your insurance provider to understand the specific coverage details and any applicable exclusions related to road rage incidents. Additionally, if criminal charges are involved, legal assistance may be necessary to navigate the legal aspects and potential liabilities.

🛈 Why road rage is so common

Road rage is a complex phenomenon influenced by a variety of factors. While it's difficult to pinpoint a single reason why road rage is so common, several factors contribute to its prevalence:

  • Stress and frustration: Many individuals experience high levels of stress in their daily lives, and being on the road can amplify those feelings. Traffic congestion, time pressures, and other drivers' behavior can contribute to frustration, leading to an increased likelihood of road rage incidents.

  • Anonymity and deindividuation: When people are inside their vehicles, they may feel a sense of anonymity, detached from the consequences of their actions. This perceived anonymity can lead to a loss of self-awareness and a decreased sense of personal responsibility, making it easier for individuals to express aggression or anger on the road.

  • Aggressive driving culture: In some societies, there is a prevailing culture of aggressive driving, where drivers feel compelled to compete, assert dominance, or express their frustration through aggressive behaviors. This cultural norm can contribute to an escalation of conflicts on the road.

  • Traffic congestion and delays: Long periods of time spent in traffic congestion can be frustrating and lead to impatience. Delays can make individuals feel like their time is being wasted, increasing their likelihood of becoming angry or agitated.

  • Lack of effective enforcement: In certain areas, there may be inadequate enforcement of traffic laws, leading to a sense of impunity among aggressive drivers. When individuals believe they can get away with aggressive behavior, they may be more likely to engage in road rage incidents.

  • Personal factors: Some individuals may have a predisposition towards aggression or anger-related issues. Personal factors such as impulsivity, irritability, or a lack of emotional regulation skills can contribute to an increased likelihood of engaging in road rage behaviors.

It is important to note that road rage is not a justified or acceptable behavior. Efforts are being made to address this issue through public awareness campaigns, driver education programs, and stricter law enforcement. Practicing patience, empathy, and respectful driving can help create a safer and more harmonious driving environment for everyone.

🛈 Road rage triggers

Understanding road rage triggers is crucial for mitigating aggressive behaviors on the road and promoting safer driving environments. Road rage triggers are the events, actions, or situations that provoke intense anger, frustration, or aggression in drivers, leading to aggressive driving behaviors. Identifying and addressing these triggers can help individuals manage their emotions and respond more calmly to challenging situations on the road. Here are some common road rage triggers:

  • Traffic Congestion: Long delays, gridlock, and slow-moving traffic can be frustrating, especially for drivers who are running late or have time-sensitive commitments.

  • Tailgating: Being followed too closely by another vehicle can feel threatening and can escalate tensions between drivers.

  • Unsafe Lane Changes: Drivers who cut off or fail to signal their lane changes can provoke anger and frustration in others.

  • Slow Drivers: Drivers traveling below the speed limit, particularly in the passing lane, can irritate faster-moving drivers.

  • Horns and Gestures: Honking horns, aggressive gestures, or verbal confrontations from other drivers can trigger anger or retaliation.

  • Cutting Off: Being cut off by another driver without warning can be perceived as disrespectful and can lead to feelings of anger and aggression.

  • Reckless Driving: Witnessing dangerous or reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, or running red lights, can incite frustration and fear.

  • Rude Behavior: Experiencing rudeness or hostility from other drivers, such as refusing to yield, refusing to merge, or blocking intersections, can trigger anger and resentment.

  • Time Pressure: Feeling rushed or pressured to reach a destination on time can increase stress levels and make drivers more susceptible to road rage.

  • Personal Issues: Pre-existing stress, anger, or emotional distress unrelated to driving can exacerbate reactions to minor driving irritations.

  • Inclement Weather: Poor weather conditions, such as heavy rain, snow, or fog, can increase driving difficulty and frustration, leading to heightened emotional responses.

  • Traffic Laws Violations: Observing other drivers breaking traffic laws, such as texting while driving, not using turn signals, or driving recklessly, can provoke anger and resentment.

  • Perceived Disrespect: Feeling disrespected or slighted by other drivers, such as being ignored at intersections or being cut off in traffic, can trigger feelings of anger and hostility.

  • Competition: Feeling competitive with other drivers, particularly in situations where merging or changing lanes is required, can lead to aggressive driving behaviors.

  • Perceived Injustice: Feeling unfairly treated by other drivers, such as being blamed for an accident or receiving a traffic citation, can lead to feelings of anger and resentment.

Recognizing these triggers and practicing coping strategies, such as deep breathing, positive self-talk, and focusing on safety, can help drivers manage their emotions and respond more calmly to challenging situations on the road. Additionally, fostering a culture of patience, courtesy, and empathy among all road users can help reduce the incidence of road rage and create safer driving environments for everyone.

🛈 Road rage statistics (The Zebra)

  • In 2019, 82% of people admitted to committing an act of road rage in the past year.

  • A total of 12,610 injuries and 218 murders have been attributed to road rage over a seven-year period in the United States.

  • 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving.

  • Road rage has been responsible for about 300 deaths since 2013.

  • Over a seven-year time period, more than 200 murders and 12,000 injuries were attributed to road rage.

  • 30 murders annually are linked to road rage.

  • 50% of drivers respond to the careless acts of other drivers with aggressive behavior themselves.

  • 94% of traffic accidents are caused by driver error.

  • 37% of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

  • Aggressive driving played a role in 56% of fatal crashes from 2003 through 2007

  • 500% increase in reported cases of road rage over the last 10 years.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving