When someone ticks you off on the road, do you have the ability to keep your cool?

If so, you may be in the minority.

In a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, 80 percent of motorists say they've expressed significant anger and aggression — that is, committed road rage — behind the wheel.

The findings suggest that approximately 8 million U.S. drivers have engaged in some type of road rage, such as purposefully tailgating; purposefully cutting off another vehicle; yelling and honking; or confronting another driver out of their vehicle.

"Unfortunately these are behaviors that we see on the regular on New Jersey roadways," said Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly."

Drivers in the Northeast are more likely to confront other drivers, the survey found. Folks in the Midwest are more likely to tailgate and yell angrily.

"I think to some extent we do have it a little worse than folks in other states, simply because of our congested roadways," Noble said of New Jersey drivers. "We've got a lot of motorists on our roadways, and when they are stuck in traffic ... blood starts to boil, people get aggravated and then, unfortunately, they react."

Male drivers, and those between the ages of 19 and 39, are significantly more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors, according to the study.

AAA offers the following tips to help prevent road rage:

  • Don't offend: Never cause another driver to change their speed or direction. For example, don't pump your brakes to make another driver slam on theirs.
  • Be tolerant and forgiving: If another driver cuts you off, it truly can be a mistake. Assume that it's not personal.
  • Do not respond: Take yourself out of a potential dangerous situation. Avoid eye contact with, and making gestures to drivers who may be exhibiting aggressive behavior toward you.

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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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