As our roads become increasingly congested and stressful, incidents of road rage are on the rise, posing significant risks to drivers, passengers and pedestrians alike. That’s why it’s crucial to be aware of some of the triggers for road rage and how to deal with it, both as a victim and perpetrator.

Budget Direct, one of Australia’s largest insurance companies, has conducted a survey among 825 Australians aged 18 and over and compared the latest figures (from December 2023) with those of the same survey in 2021. Learn all about the key facts and figures from Budget Direct’s report right here with Savvy in our comprehensive breakdown today!

Firstly, what is road rage?

Road rage is a term used to describe aggressive or angry behaviour exhibited by drivers on the road. It can manifest in various ways, ranging from verbal outbursts and rude gestures to dangerous driving manoeuvres and even physical altercations. Here's a breakdown of key aspects of road rage:

  • Verbal: yelling, swearing, using offensive language and making threats.
  • Non-verbal: rude gestures, aggressive eye contact, tailgating, cutting off other drivers, brake checking and displaying obscene signs.
  • Physical: getting out of the vehicle to confront someone, causing property damage or physical assault.

Male victims and perpetrators of road rage increase

48% of male respondents said that they had been involved in a road rage incident within the past 12 months, while 51% admitted to making rude gestures or shouting at another driver. This represents an increase on both statistics from 2021, which sat at 38% and 40%, respectively.

55% of female drivers reported that they hadn’t engaged in any road rage incidents towards another driver, which drops to 44% for male respondents.

Additionally, while women reported a higher incidence of being shouted or cursed at or having rude gestures directed towards them (87% vs 81%), 24.5% of men had been intentionally hurt, threatened or had their vehicle sustain intentional damage or attempted damage. This is compared to 14% of women.

25 to 34 the top age range for road rage incidents

Respondents between the ages of 25 and 34 years old reported the highest number when it came to having been involved in a road rage incident, sitting at 52%. This was marginally higher than 18 to 24-year-olds (51%) and 35 to 44-year-olds (50%), while it’s comfortably ahead of the 45 to 54 (47%) and 55 to 64 (44%) age brackets.

18 to 24-year-olds and 25 to 34-year-olds also reported the highest incidence of being on the receiving end of violent behaviour on the road, with 31% and 30% experiencing intentional harm or attempted harm to their person or damage or attempted damage to their vehicle. This is compared to 13% of 35 to 44-year-olds, 11% of 45 to 54-year-olds and 8% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

L-platers saved from rage

According to the survey, L-plates were the most likely sign to deter drivers from acting aggressively towards another driver at 41% of respondents. Disability and “baby on board” signs sat at 31% each, while P-plates fell significantly to 19%. 43% of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t be affected by any sign and would treat other drivers the same way.

18 to 24-year-olds were the bracket most likely to act less aggressively towards L-platers at 45%, while for 35 to 44-year-olds, this number drops to 33%. This age bracket was also comfortably the most likely to treat all drivers the same at 56%, compared to the 18 to 24 bracket at 34%.

Music affecting mood on the road?

Interestingly, 22% of male respondents said that the music they were listening to at the time would affect their likelihood of acting aggressively on the road. This is in contrast to female respondents, of whom only 13% claimed to be affected by music while driving.

Music having an impact on road aggression was most commonly cited by 18 to 24-year-olds (25%) and recorded the lowest numbers among 35 to 44-year-olds (10%).

Road rage and car insurance

It’s important to know how road rage can impact your car insurance. First and foremost, most policies won’t cover any illegal activity, so if you’re considered to be driving dangerously in an incident which ends up in your car or another person’s being damaged, your claim may be denied outright.

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director of Savvy, says it’s important to be mindful of how your behaviour on the road could cost you in the long run.

“Engaging in violent or dangerous behaviour while driving can not only result in damage claims being denied but could also see your premiums rise”, he said.

“If you have a record of road rage incidents resulting in damage, you could be deemed a more dangerous driver and have to pay more for your policy as a result.

“When it comes to dealing with angry drivers, it’s important to remain calm and measured and avoid retaliating. If you fear you’re being followed or are at risk of being confronted or attacked, don’t leave your vehicle and go to a police station.”

Bill Tsouvalas, Managing Director - Savvy

If you’re in the market for a car insurance policy, you can compare a range of options through Savvy today.

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