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Nearly 8 in 10 drivers admit aggressive behavior, study finds

Long Island traffic can contribute to road rage

Long Island traffic can contribute to road rage incidents, an AAA official said. Cars are shown here on Sunrise Highway in East Patchogue on Dec. 8, 2015. Credit: James Carbone

Nearly eight of 10 drivers nationwide reported engaging in some sort of aggressive behavior or road rage in 2014, a newly released survey found — and the problem’s particularly bad in the Northeast.

Motorists here are more likely to yell, honk or gesture angrily than other drivers, according to the survey, which was published Thursday by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The foundation said an estimated 8 million drivers across the country committed more serious acts of aggression, such as bumping another vehicle or leaving their car to confront a driver.

The findings are based on an online survey of 2,705 licensed drivers who had driven at least once in the past 30 days. The survey was conducted in 2014 but just released.

“Inconsiderate driving, bad traffic and the daily stresses of life can transform minor frustrations into dangerous road rage,” said Jurek Grabowski, the foundation’s director of research. “Far too many drivers are losing themselves in the heat of the moment and lashing out in ways that could turn deadly.”

About half of U.S. drivers had tailgated, 46 percent said they had yelled at another driver and 45 percent reported honking, according to the report. The numbers are higher among drivers in the Northeast, where 53 percent said they tailgated and 52 percent said they screamed at other motorists.

Robert Sinclair Jr., a spokesman for AAA New York, said Thursday aggressive behavior behind the wheel may be more common on Long Island because of the poor roads and bad traffic.

“Long Island is famous for its terrible traffic,” Sinclair said. “That combined with the state of the aging roads here certainly contributes to driver frustration.”

Ken Cetin, 58, of Massapequa Park, said Thursday he sees cases of road rage on the Long Island Expressway every day.

“I see people tailgating, cutting each other off all the time,” said Cetin, a retired NYPD officer. “People are doing 90 miles an hour on the LIE. It’s crazy.”

Road rage can often become criminal. In April, a Sea Cliff motorist allegedly pepper-sprayed a family in the parking lot of the Broadway Mall in Hicksville. And in February, a motorist pulled a gun on another driver while they were on the Long Island Expressway in Roslyn.

The findings also come 10 days after an off-duty NYPD officer shot and killed a man after an apparent road rage incident in Brooklyn.

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