LONDON – A speeding car can be a deadly weapon in itself, but a new survey reveals many Americans make sure they’re armed when they get behind the wheel.
A survey of 1,000 US residents, commissioned by Circuit Route Planner, finds that 65% of drivers keep a weapon in their vehicle in case they need to defend themselves during a road rage incident. The most common hidden weapon conductors are a knife (50%), followed by pepper spray (45%). However, 40% admit to carrying a weapon on the road.
Other weapons U.S. drivers have on hand include tire levers (39%), baseball bats (38%), hockey sticks (31%), tasers (31%) and lacrosse sticks (14%).
As for the cars you might want to stay away from if things heat up on the road, the survey finds BMW, Hyundai and Mercedes drivers are the most likely to keep a dangerous weapon in their car. Incidentally, researchers report that road rage shootings hit an all-time high in 2021.
No matter where Americans drive, local residents think the anger that builds up on the roads is worst where they live. While 39% of city drivers think road rage is worse where they live than anywhere else in the country, 53% still think city drivers are just as prone to road rage. More than half of rural (54%), small town (58%) and suburban (67%) believe road rage is as bad where they live as anywhere else, including cities.
Who are the biggest culprits of road rage?
Whether it’s true or not, men have the worst reputation for angry behavior on the road. Half of the poll believe men are the most prone to road rage incidents, followed closely by young drivers (42%). People who own sports cars (35%), women (31%) and older drivers (28%) also get a bad rap for being overly aggressive drivers.
Interestingly, women seem to be the most critical drivers. In fact, women surveyed were 71% more likely than men to accuse other women of succumbing to road rage.
So what do we mean when we say “road rage”? These actions range from speeding (which 40% of respondents admit to doing), honking the horn (28%), suddenly braking or “checking the brakes” of another driver (26%), making hand gestures angry (24%) and yelling (23%).
However, things can quickly spiral out of control, leading some drivers to chase or race other cars (20%), intentionally cut vehicles (16%), hatchbacks (16%) and even pointing a gun at another driver (4%).
The capital of road rage is in… Oregon?
While busy streets and bumper-to-bumper traffic seem to make big cities the perfect place for road rage, the survey found that the road rage “capital” of America is actually Eugene, Oregon!
Using data from Twitter, the poll found that for every 100,000 people, 500 #roadrage tweets came from this Pacific Northwest city. That’s over 100 more than the next closest location – Atlanta, Georgia. Interestingly, famous areas like New York and Los Angeles weren’t even among the top 20 cities for road rage.
Since road rage can easily lead to crashes, injuries and even deaths, researchers say it’s essential that drivers learn to keep a cool head. Here are some tips from AAA for handling potential road rage incidents:
- Maintain a safe following distance
- Only honk if necessary
- Do not force others to change speed or direction
- Be kind (imagine the person who just retired in front of you lost their job today)
- Do not engage with angry motorists
Circuit Route Planner surveyed 1,000 Americans about their perception of road rage and their own driving behaviors. This data was combined with a Twitter scrap of #roadrage and analyzed by the location of each tweet. All data is per 100,000 people in the top 150 cities by population in the United States
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