Stress levels are rising across the world, says the World Health Organization, which cites bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear as reasons why mental health conditions are being triggered.

Rising stress and anxiety levels are also having effects on the way people drive, with some states in the U.S. reporting that despite the decrease in the number of cars on the road, and even an overall decrease in accidents, there have been more traffic deaths in 2020.

The U.S. is not the only part of the world experiencing more road rage than before, with countries such as Bènin and Spain reporting similar statistics. There are three main reasons for these figures: speeding, tailgating, and not wearing seatbelts. Road rage is linked to these dangerous driving behaviors, and should therefore be taken seriously in times of high stress.

The Link Between Road Rage & Fatalities

Road rage has contributed to hundreds of deaths per year, with factors such as displaced anger and high life stress linked to road rage. Currently, the worldwide impact of stress is high, with 86% of Chinese workers reporting stress, who are working around the world on projects including the Belt & Road Initiative. Almost half a million British workers believing stress is making them ill, and 91% of Australians feeling stressed about one or more important aspects of their lives.

Driving in a stressed or anxious state is unconducive to the calm and patience that is often required on busy roads. As reported by road accident experts, FVF, being injured in a car accident can only add to the burden of many families who often have to face loss of income when they are injured or when a member of their family is killed on the road.

This experience can require expensive help from medical professionals (including mental health experts) which can be too costly for many families whose finances have already been heavily affected. 

Road Rage & Cyclists

Road rage is also endangering the health and safety of cyclists. Drivers who are stressed out are more likely to engage in behaviors that can injure or even kill cyclists. These behaviors include driving by at too close a distance, shouting at cyclists, or even throwing items from their vehicles.

It is recommended that cyclists choose their routes well in these times, opting for well-known routes that tend to have low levels of traffic. Cycling during low-peak times of the day can also reduce the chances of encountering enraged drivers.

Drivers should aim to take proactive steps to reduce their stress levels, since tension can contribute to road rage and risky driving behaviors such as speeding. The fact that some parts of the world have experienced a rise in road deaths despite the fact that there are less vehicles on the road, shows that it is time to take stress seriously so as to reduce the chances of accidents and injuries. Drivers should also aim to be safe when passing cyclists, while the latter should aim to choose routes on which they encounter the least amount of vehicles possible.