Road rage (also known as a traffic tantrum) is aggressive or angry behavior by a driver of an automobile or other road vehicle which includes rude gestures, verbal insults, physical threats or dangerous driving methods targeted toward another driver in an effort to intimidate or release frustration. Road rage can lead to altercations, assaults and collisions that result in serious physical injuries or even death. It can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive driving.
The term originated in the United States in 1987–1988 (specifically, from Newscasters at KTLA, a television station in Los Angeles, California), when a rash of freeway shootings occurred on the Interstate 405, 110, and 10 freeways in Los Angeles. These shooting sprees even spawned a response from the AAA Motor Club to its members on how to respond to drivers with road rage or aggressive maneuvers and gestures.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that examined police records nationally, there have been over 1,200 incidents of road rage reported per year in the United States, a number of which have ended with serious injuries or even fatalities. These rates rose yearly throughout the six years of the study. A number of studies have found that individuals with road rage were predominantly young (33 years of age on average) and male (96.6%). In Germany, a gun-wielding truck driver was accused of firing at over 762 vehicles and arrested in 2013, an exceptional case of road rage. According to authorities, the autobahn sniper was motivated by “annoyance and frustration with traffic”.