Warm spring weather seems to have motorists in northern New Jersey acting on their not-so-best behavior. So much so, that a local American Automobile Association branch has issued a plea urging motorists to avoid road rage and “resulting driver confrontations.”
The Situation needs to simmer down.
“In the past few weeks, we have noticed that road rage incidents are increasingly in the news,” said David Hughes, President and CEO of AAA North Jersey, in a release. The organization has released a list of tips — don’t offend, be tolerant and forgiving, don’t respond — that could also prove useful in non-automotive situations.
Riding public transit and meeting your significant other’s family for the first time comes to mind.
Years ago, New Jersey enacted its #77 aggressive driver hotline to clamp down on instances of road-bound hotheads, and just recently expanded that tool to enforce distracted driving. The state added the feature after seeing an 8 percent rise in traffic fatalities in 2016.
While tempers flare amongst drivers trying to get out of state (or just to Newark), the Garden State isn’t alone in its ragey-ness. A survey of American drivers published last year by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety revealed that nearly 80 percent of drivers pop a vein behind the wheel in a given year. That’s the number of people who displayed at least one incident of “significant” aggression, anger or road rage.
The most popular way of expressing displeasure with another motorist is through tailgating, the survey found. All it takes for that situation to go south is a quick brake check by the leading motorist. Yelling and bashing the horn came in a close second.
New Jerseyans can take solace in one fact: they’re not in Florida. That state posted the highest number of gun-involved road rage incidents over the past two years (146), according to gun violence tracking website The Trace.