RECOIL OFFGRID

You Become a Target of Road Rage?

James Madison once sagely conveyed, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Had Madison ever driven a car on a gridlocked freeway he’d likely have concluded the same about the necessity of this article. Neither men nor women are angels. When behind the wheel of a 4,000-pound rolling ego-inflator, they sometimes become quite the opposite.

According to a 2019 survey of Americans by The Zebra, an insurance comparison website, 82 percent of respondents admitted to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the last year. Further, 42 percent claimed they yelled or cursed at fellow drivers. Thirty-eight percent indicated they used obscene gestures toward others on the road. That’s a lot of anger, but unless these signs of frustration escalate, they’re relatively harmless. Our primary concern is what happens when yelling and honking goes too far.

The 2019 survey also reports that 7 percent of respondents got out of their vehicle to verbally confront a fellow driver. Six percent threw objects. Another 6 percent got into a physical fight. Astonishingly, 5 percent admitted to intentionally ramming a car, and another 5 percent admitted to forcing someone off the road.

In 2006, 80 fatal crashes were directly related to road rage incidents. In 2015, that number exploded to 467. That’s a 500 percent increase in less than a decade. In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the U.S. averaged at least one deadly road-rage-related incident per day.

Extreme forms of road rage are still rare, but have the potential to be incredibly dangerous, which is why they need to be within our spectrum of preparedness. Road rage can easily be confused with aggressive driving, but the two are distinct, both contextually and legally. Aggressive driving can simply be the a-hole not letting you merge or someone speeding past you at 90 mph. Road rage differs, especially as the law is concerned, because it demonstrates violent intent toward another.

You might have experienced it yourself or know someone who has. We put our panelists in a potential road rage situation to see how they’d react. Security specialist Mel Ward has been involved in at least half a dozen incidents with several involving drivers exiting their vehicles. Off-road driving instructor Muggs McCoy has leveraged his military and law enforcement background to teach students tactical mobility in a

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