Stages of Road Rage — What Kind of Driver Are You?

Some people are lucky enough to have the patience of a saint when out driving around, but for the rest of us, road rage is a common occurrence. There are few things more frustrating than trying to get somewhere on time and being stuck in slow moving traffic. While some of us resort to muttering a not-so-kind something under our breath, others take it to a whole other level.

Recently, San Diego personal injury lawyers Estey & Bomberger wrote an article on the dangers of road rage, stating that there are three common levels. While these seem accurate, there are many different types of drivers that fit into each level. We all know the ones, but here are more specific classifications of common road rage drivers:

The Pushover: Starting on the low end of the scale, the Pushover is a defensive style driver that goes roughly 10 or more miles per hour slower than the car in front of them. Many believe the Pushover is a safe driver always on the lookout for potential danger or brake lights, but in reality, these drivers often are the silent culprits of auto accidents. Their incessant need to stomp the brakes at the sight of a brake light makes them unpredictable and dangerous and by leaving a gap the size of Rhode Island between them and the next vehicle, they are inhibiting the natural flow of traffic.

The Know It All: A lot of people fall under this category. These are the expert drivers who think they know the correct way to handle any driving situation. Rather than yelling or speeding away in protest when a person isn’t driving to their high standards, they simply have a one way conversation to themselves about the issue, which often causes them to be distracted in their driving.

The Earnhardt: This road rage driver has the urge to drive in a continuous left hand turn at 200mph, but instead is stuck on a freeway with a speed limit of 65. The only way they can handle the mundane commute is by weaving in and out of traffic at the highest speed possible without getting in an accident. They aren’t the ones honking or flipping the bird, instead they tailgate until they can squeeze in front of the driver in the next lane over just to inch a little bit further ahead. The Earnhardts seemingly live by the infamous words of “Ricky Bobby” in Talladega Nights, “If you’re not first, you’re last.” This creates a dangerous situation on any road.

The Hot Head: On the opposite end of the spectrum from the “pushover” is the “hot head”. This driver can’t stand when people are in their way, but instead of just politely going around, they have to speed up, make a scene, and hastily drive around all the while sharing a not-so-lovely gesture of discontent. These drivers want everyone on the road to know just how mad they are.

The Revenge Driver: These drivers are downright dangerous. They take road rage to another level by getting back at drivers with dangerous actions like brake-checking, purposely cutting people off, purposely tailgating, or even inciting a physical altercation. Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence on our roadways in the U.S. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94% of auto accidents are caused by driver error and 33% of those are linked to road rage behavior.

No matter what kind of driver you may be, it’s best to keep a level head and avoid road rage behavior. There is no doubt that driving in traffic can be frustrating, but the consequences of speeding around someone, cutting off another driver, or even making a rude gesture can quickly result in an injury or even death. Don’t take the risk, just to prove your point.