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Road rage roaring across Delaware and nation, new survey finds

Delaware Public Media

Across the country, nearly 80 percent of drivers have expressed some form of road rage according to a new survey and the First State has seen a spike as well.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety estimates 51 percent of drivers purposefully tailgate, 24 percent block cars from changing lanes and three percent ram other vehicles on purpose nationwide.

Delaware State Police report arresting or citing nearly 63,000 people in 2015 for aggressive driving – a 9.6 percent increase from the previous year.

About another 47,000 received speeding tickets, which is up 11 percent from 2014.

“The vehicle miles traveled has increased, there’s more people on the road, our roads are far more congested – even some highways locally, here, it always seems to be rush hour anymore," said Jim Lardear, a spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic, noting that several factors play into spiking frustrations behind the wheel.

He also says drivers have recognized road rage as a problem.

Two out of three drivers say it's more of a problem today than three years ago and nine out out of ten respondents say aggressive driving is a threat to their personal safety.

Relaxation techniques, calming music or an audio book can help center individual drivers, Lardear says. Other advice for avoiding conflict on the road include not escalating situations through eye contact or other aggressive behavior.

“Drive slowly, share the road, don’t tailgate, try to always use your turn signals, avoid honking your horn or gesturing at other drivers.”

Most of all, Lardear says not to take the actions of other drivers personally and to be more empathetic.

About 2,700 drivers over the age of 16 responded to the nationwide survey.