Not much love in today’s America. Lots of anger.
We see it all around us, even on the road.
Get mad while driving? Want to take that anger out on someone you feel wronged you out on the road?
You’re not alone. A new study by the American Automobile Association shows eight our of every ten drivers admit anger, aggression or road rage at least once in the previous year.
About eight million drivers engaged in the extreme called road rage, including bumping or ramming a vehicle on purpose or getting out of their car to confront another driver or just ramming another vehicle on purpose.
“Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly,” says Jurek Grabowski, director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
How deadly? The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration says two-thirds of the 35,200 crash deaths in America last year were a result of aggressive driving.
An escalating number of deaths that result from road rage come from the increase carrying of guns by Americans, who use them to settle disputes.
In Los Angeles Wednesday, a man involved in a traffic accident pulled out a gun and shot the other driver in the neck and back.
In Mount Clemens, Mich, Wednesday, police charged Samuel Smith with assault to intent to murder and felony fire arm use after he opened fire on another driver during a road rage dispute.
On Saturday, 23-year-old Victor Alfredo Garcia died from gunshot wounds after the driver of another car got into an argument with Garcia’s brother, driver of the truck where Garcia was a passenger, and opened fire.
In Brooklyn, NY, on July 4, an off-duty police officer shot and killed the other driver in a road rage incident.
In its report on “road rage,” AAA says nine out of every ten drivers surveyed found a “serious threat to their personal safety to personal safety” because of anger behind the wheel.
Drivers admit purposely trying to block another driver who is attempting to change lanes and about 12 percent say they have cut off other drivers on purpose.
Psychologists say the increase in anger is part of an overall escalation of hate in America.
The Southern Poverty Law Center says America is angrier and more prone to hate.
The group calls 2015 “the year of hate and extremism” in America, where hate groups increased by 14 percent.
“It was a year marked by very high levels of political violence, enormous rage in the electorate and a real significant growth in hate groups,” said Mark Potok, author of the report.
Potok found “swelling numbers of Ku Klux Klan chapters and black separatist groups drove last year’s surge, though organizations classified as anti-gay, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim saw small increases, too.”
Presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump, who uses hate as a political ploy, is seen as a driving force along with anger from both sides of the racial divide in this country.
Writes Niraj Chokshi in The Washington Report:
A creeping rhetoric of intolerance among politicians helped to normalize hate, the center argued. And while it singled out other presidential contenders, too, the center—which conservatives criticize for casting too wide a net—stated that Donald Trump had “electrified the radical right.”
“Hate in the mainstream had absorbed some of the hate on the fringes,” says the group.
Welcome to America in 2016: Land of the angry and home of the hater.