NEW YORK, March 21 (Xinhua) -- More than 550 people were shot in road rage incidents in the United States in 2022, meaning someone was fatally shot or injured in a road rage incident every 16 hours on average, according to a report on Monday from advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Gun violence in the United States soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a disproportionate impact on kids. Data from dozens of big cities suggests homicides and shootings are falling again, but road rage shootings appear to be an exception, said USA Today in its report of the data.
Aggressive driving, like driving too closely or weaving through traffic, can escalate to confrontations, physical assault and murder, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Road rage describes "the angry and violent behaviors at the extreme of the aggressive driving continuum," said the agency.
Road rage injuries and deaths involving guns have increased every year since 2018 and approximately doubled from 2018 to 2022, the report found.
Ryan Martin, a psychology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay who has studied road rage, cited general levels of increased stress and anxiety, due to the pandemic and economic uncertainty, as well as increased impatience with one another, exacerbated by the political atmosphere.
That's what drives the road rage, but it's easy access to guns while driving that allows for the shootings, he said, adding that "If the guns weren't present, people would still be mad, and they may do something else aggressive."