Road rage is a term used to refer to intentional acts of aggressive, dangerous or even violent behavior by a driver of a motor vehicle that are triggered by frustration, anger or revenge. Road rage consists of a wide variety of behaviors that range from minor instances such as rude or obscene gestures and frequent honking of the vehicle’s horn to more serious acts such as assault that may result in injury or even death. Other examples of road rage include:

  • Aggressive driving behaviors, including tailgating or sudden braking

  • Verbally shouting threats or curse words toward other drivers

  • Pursuing another vehicle out of anger

  • Deliberately throwing an object at another driver’s vehicle

  • Running another vehicle off the road to get into a verbal or physical altercation


    Take the Miller-Patton Road Rage Quick Self-Assessment Screen below to help assess your anger responses to road rage. It is also helpful if you ask trusted friends or family members to answer these questions about their experiences with you when you have been angry while driving to help you get a better picture about how you react.


    1. Do you tailgate other drivers to make them speed up or to get out of your way?
    2. Do you often honk the horn to show your frustration about someone else's driving?
    3. When there is a confrontation with another driver, do you often blame the other person?
    4. Do you often suddenly accelerate or brake out of anger toward other drivers?
    5. Do you yell insults or swear words at other drivers while on the road?
    6. Do you often cut off other drivers intentionally out of anger?
    7. Do you often get into confrontations with other drivers on the road?
    8. Do you use obscene gestures (e.g., “the finger”) toward other drivers?
    9. Have you gotten out of your vehicle and gone to another person’s vehicle and banged or knocked on their windows or doors?
    10. Do you throw objects at other vehicles while driving (e.g., beverage cans, trash, fresh fruit or vegetables, etc.), to intimidate other drivers or to damage their vehicles?
    11. Have you shown another driver that you are carrying a weapon?
    12. Have you forced another vehicle off the road to get into a fight with another driver?
    If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, then you may have road rage.


    Don’t Play “Beat the Clock”
    - Reduce your driving stress by allowing sufficient time to get to your destination. Many drivers impose unrealistic time constraints upon themselves and get frustrated at “obstacles,” e.g., traffic signals, stop signs, and the flow of traffic.
    Create a No-Stress Zone – Play relaxing music in your vehicle. Take on a Zen-like approach to driving by being a “peaceful driver” instead of an aggressive one.
    Overconfidence: The Driver’s Kiss of Death – Are you too confident about your driving? Have you developed some bad driving habits over the years? Perhaps a “driver’s refresher course” could be helpful to you.
    Do you want to be Right or Alive? – Drivers need to put their ego “in the back seat” and not expect that other drivers follow the rules of the road.