Jan 16, 2013 12:00 PM by Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Jan. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Road rage is a factor in nearly half of all car accidents, and the most irritating drivers are those who cut in and weave in and out of traffic, according to a new study.
Researchers from the Center for Addiction and Mental Health, in Toronto, said identifying the triggers of road rage will help drivers stay calm and prevent dangerous driving.
The study, published online recently in the journal Accident Analysis and Prevention, involved thousands of complaints about unsafe or aggressive driving posted on the website RoadRagers.com. "These websites can tell us more about what people are doing out there in the real world," study leader Christine Wickens, a post-doctoral fellow with the center's social and epidemiological research department, said in a center news release.
Wickens and her team analyzed more than 5,000 entries posted between 1999 and 2007. The entries were grouped into categories, such as speeding and erratic driving.
The study revealed 54 percent of the complaints involved drivers cutting in or weaving in traffic. Speeding accounted for 29 percent of the entries, and 25 percent of the complaints were the result of hostile displays from other drivers.
The study's authors noted that more research is needed to explore how drivers perceive and react to aggressive or erratic driving. In extreme cases, one aggressive action can lead to hostile behavior by multiple drivers, they pointed out.
They noted that drivers should take steps to remain calm while driving.
"Remind yourself to take a deep breath, stay calm and do whatever it takes to bring your anger down," advised Wickens.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provides more tips on how to avoid the negative consequences of road rage.