‘Tension is high’: 8 in 10 drivers show aggressive behavior, says AAA

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Do you sometimes drive angry or aggressive behind the wheel? You’re not alone.

A new study out Thursday from AAA finds 80 percent of drivers drove aggressively or participated in road rage in the past year.

We’ve all gotten a little annoyed when driving, but how many of us are willing to take it to the next level? As it turns out, it’s a pretty big number.

Drivers notice the bad.

“Pretty much congested all the time,” David Harris said.

“Up in the Northeast, people tend to be wanting to get to places faster,” Allyson Stewart said. She sees it plenty.

“They’ll pass more aggressively, cut in front of you. All of a sudden, they’re changing lanes, kind of weaving in and out,” Stewart said.

“Somebody cuts into a lane right in front of you,” Harris said. “Had to put on the brakes a couple times,” David Rabon added.

“Had to put on the brakes a couple times,” David Rabon added.

In a new study, AAA estimates about 160 million drivers did something aggressive behind the wheel in 2014, the year they studied.

“Tension is high,” AAA spokeswoman Doni Lee Spiegel said. “People have a lot on their minds. They might not be aware of their driving habits and how they may be frustrating other people.”

To scale it down, out of every 10 drivers in the country, eight of them said they’d done something aggressive over the course of the year.

More than half said they’ve purposely tailgated someone; more than four in 10 said they’ve yelled or honked at another driver.

One in 10 went even further — cutting off a driver on purpose.

And here’s where it gets a little scary: Close to four percent — that’s a little shy of eight million drivers nationwide — said they’ve gotten out of their cars and confronted another driver.

Close to three percent said they’ve intentionally hit another car.

In the Northeast, people are 30 percent more likely than anywhere else in the country to make an obscene hand gesture at another driver.

Young men, the study finds, are the worst offenders.

“Now and then, you’re just in a rush to get somewhere and you might do something that’s considered aggressive,” Stewart said.

AAA is telling drivers to keep calm and ignore it so it doesn’t escalate. But if you feel unsafe, call police.

State police said they haven’t seen an increase in any of those types of behaviors; it’s just a constant for them.

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