Nearly two-thirds of fatal crashes in SoCal caused by factors linked to road rage, CHP data shows

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Road rage turned into tragedy this week in Southern California. Four deaths are being blamed on two separate incidents.

One was in Hollywood, where a woman was thrown from a car and then run over by a friend. Another happened the day before in Riverside County's Temescal Valley where three teenagers died when their car slammed into a tree.

These two cases have something in common: road rage.

"About eight million Americans engage in road rage each year," said Doug Shupe from the Automobile Club of Southern California.

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"That's someone actually using a vehicle to push another vehicle, hit another vehicle or get out of their vehicle to encounter another driver on the side of the freeway," he said.

A 2016 survey by AAA found that nearly 80% of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage while behind the wheel.

And it's all too common in Southern California.

Eyewitness News did a deep dive into 2018 California Highway Patrol stats and found that nearly two-thirds of fatal crashes in Southern California were caused by factors associated with road rage. These factors include speeding, unsafe lane changing, following too closely and not obeying traffic signals or rights-of-way.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Click the arrows to explore the data


"Those who were most likely to engage in road rage as well as aggressive driving are those younger males between the ages of 19 to 39," said Shupe.

Location may also be adding to behind the wheel stress.

A new study by the financial planning website WalletHub shows California is the fourth worst state to drive in, coming in 42nd for traffic congestion and 48th for Road Quality.

MAP: 2020's Best & Worst States to Drive In
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Source: WalletHub

According to AAA, the key to avoiding road rage is to keep your cool. Assume the other driver is having a bad day and what happened is not personal. Also, don't egg on other drivers.

"Don't do anything that's going to cause them to suddenly slam their brakes or turn their steering wheel, don't engage with another driver," said Shupe. "If you see somebody that's really angry because of something you've done, or maybe you're angry at them, avoid making eye contact with them."
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