Signs of road rage and how to avoid it
The Illinois State Police (ISP) is warning the public about what appears to be an increasing trend in road rage. While the number of shootings on Chicago area expressways continues to decrease compared to the height in 2021, victims are increasingly reporting road rage as the reason behind the expressway shooting.
In 2022, road rage was reported in approximately 40% of Chicago area expressway shootings handled by ISP. This is up from 12% in 2021. Already in 2023, road rage has been reported in at least nine Chicago area expressway shootings. This is in addition to other types of road rage-associated violence such as crashes and physical fights.
Watch for the following signs of road rage, aggressive driving:
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Improper or erratic lane changing
- Illegally driving on the shoulder of the road (emergency lane), in a ditch/median, or on sidewalk
- Passing where prohibited
- Operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds
- Failure to yield right of way
- Failure to obey traffic laws, signs, and devices
- Failure to yield to emergency personnel and construction zone speed limits
- Failure to signal
- Driving too fast for conditions or in excess of posted speed limit
- Making an improper turn
According to a AAA Foundation study, when drivers explained why they became violent, the reasons were often trivial such as the other driver wouldn’t let them pass or they kept tailgating.
The following are tips on how to avoid being the victim of road rage, an aggressive driver:
- If you are in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move to your right and allow them to pass.
- When merging, make sure you have plenty of room and use your turn signal.
- If someone cuts you off, slow down and give them room to merge into your lane.
- If a speeding driver is tailgating you, safely change lanes when able.
- Making gestures might anger the other driver; create distance and avoid confrontation.
- If another driver is acting angry, don’t make eye contact.
- Call the police if you believe a driver is following you or harassing you.
If you are the victim of road rage, call 911 and/or go to the nearest police department to report it.
More information about expressway shootings can be found on the ISP website.