road rage fight, blurred picture
Extreme form of road rage - but also minor instances can affect you

Most people who have ever driven is likely to have gotten ‘the bird’—or perhaps you’ve even given them to other drivers as well. Road rage can seem as simple as ‘drivers who just have bad attitudes on the road.’ It also causes much more than just directing your road rage anger towards another driver, and if you’re filled with road rage yourself, you should know that road rage has a bigger effect than you think. You might thank that just because you have road rage, that it doesn’t affect anyone else and you may believe you’re encouraging them to be ‘better drivers.’ Maybe you think you road rage is a simple sign of frustration and hurts nothing, but in fact, road rage can cause a lot of effects just by giving someone the bird if they were driving too slow while behind them.

Road rage doesn’t just mean ‘innocent’ impatience while driving—sometimes, nothing will occur from it as a direct result, but sometimes when it does, the effects can be devastating to you or others. Maybe you’re just impatient, or don’t like driving or live in

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an area with awful drivers, or maybe you only find yourself succumbing to road rage on bad days. However—especially if you only engage in it on bad days, you’re putting yourself in the position to make premiums jump just because of a lack of judgment and because by engaging in these behaviors, you’re also placing yourself and others at risk on the road and increasing your chances of accidents and violations.

Road rage is seen more and more often. Also, it can turn into things that can affect you and damage you for life and is a very serious topic. Just consider a few of the stories about ‘road ragers’ that were in the news in the last month:

  • Houston, Texas – In mid September, a woman shot and killed a man, claiming self-defense. However, onlookers say otherwise. Apparently, a 23 year old woman driving a sedan was approached by a man that started yelling and beating on her window. When he grabbed to open her door, she grabbed the gun she carries and shot him. The reason for this? The two had a small fender bender, and drove into a gas station parking lot to address the accident.
  • Utah – Just last week, a man was arrested after an ugly road rage incident. He and a 22 year old male was stabbed because of the perpetrator declared that the driver cut him off in traffic. Once they got to a red light, they both got out of their cars.
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    The two pushed eachother a bit and finally, the perpetrator stabbed the 22 year old. Luckily, the victim’s wound wasn’t life threatening.

  • Oklahoma – Just days ago, a 57 year old man was arrested for murder for shooting a 29 year old male driver. Witnesses say the two men were driving ‘aggressively’ and maybe even chasing each other on the road. A young driver, 29, was murdered in the parking lot of a store right after exiting they got off the road. The 29 year old was shot and died.
  • Washington – In mid-September, a driver did some major damage all stemming from an incident on the road when one driver cut the other driver off in traffic. When all drivers and cars reached the next intersection, the other driver got out and ripped off the spoiler of the other driver’s vehicle, and began bashing in the other driver’s car with the spoiler. No one was injured, but the perpetrator has yet to be found.

Road rage doesn’t stop with giving someone the bird—instead, giving someone the bird is actually just the starting point of how it can affect your life—and unfortunately, sometimes others. If you’re filled with road rage, the truth is you’re giving you’re basically asking for things like accidents, fraud, and being injured. One of the biggest things road rage affects are your insurance premiums. So how does it affect them? Consider these:

1. Erratic Driving Causes Accidents

  • Even if you are not the one that was driving erratically and causing an accident, you are still affected because there is yet another claim being filed in your region, which ultimately DOES affect your rates.
  • If the erratic driver hits you, then you have to deal with all the drama associated with your entire week being ruined, having to deal with your own claim, and also having to deal with injuries.
  • In some states, you do not have to be at fault to see rates go up due to a claim. Some states are “no-fault” which means that it doesn’t matter who is at fault; you still have to use your own car insurance to pay damages and injuries.
  • The lesson to be learned in this is do not be the one meandering along well below the speed limit when there are people behind you with things to do, places to go, and people to see. You may think you are being the safe driver, but you are causing others to lose their minds and do erratic things.
  • If you happened to be the unlucky one behind that driver, just take a deep cleansing breath and think of it as a mini-vacation in your car. Use that time to call someone (if you have a hands-free device) or turn up your radio and sing, or some other action that keeps you occupied. You cannot change the person in front of you, but you can change your own attitude and make adjustments accordingly.

2. Erratic Driving Causes Tickets

  • Perhaps you haven’t yet mastered the art of deep breathing or attitude adjustments, so you go off in a tizzy after passing the little old lady who can’t get near the speed limit, and try to make up for lost time by going ten miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • Oops, guess what? There is a speed trap just around the next curve…and you’re busted. Up goes your insurance rate for the next three to five years.
  • Three years if you kept it under 15 miles over the speed limit, but get a reckless speeding ticket, and that will follow you around for as much as five years, possibly causing you to be rated a high-risk, even if you had no tickets or accidents prior.
  • The lesson to learn here: Learn deep breathing techniques and adjust your attitude to keep yourself in check.

Additionally, there’s another way road rage affects practically everyone’s premiums–even those who are not on the road with the rager. The more claims people make in the region, the more the insurance company is going to have to increase EVERYONE’s rates in the region in order to stay profitable. If they are not profitable, they cannot pay out claims for customers. The more accidents and violations incurred due to road rage raise everyone’s premiums.

Stay calm and cool on the road, and encourage the same behaviors in your friends and family. Saving two minutes by speeding past someone going slightly under the speed limit is not going to change your life than if you just took your time and got to your destination two minutes later. At least you will know that you’ll make it alive and without a ticket to show for it—not to mention cheaper insurance premiums.

If you have road rage, think about some of the common outcomes of it from it before shouting at another driver or using a gesture that used to not be so dangerous to give.

Image: Flickr.