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Road rage emergency calls are up 5% over last year

Cincinnati police say a cicada is responsible for causing a driver to crash their car into a pole.
Cincinnati Police Department
Road rage incidents don't always result in physical harm or property damage, but wrecks are becoming more frequent in altercations on the road.

Over half the calls the Colorado State Patrol responded to in 2022 were related to road rage incidents. That was 31,760 calls in all, 5% more than the year before.

What's behind this increase? One reason, according to master trooper Gary Cutler, is that people aren’t handling stress on the road as well as they did before the pandemic. He said that people who act out on the road often start driving aggressively, cutting people off, or tailgating.

“Sometimes we really do have these really bad crashes because of it,” Cutler said.

As these crashes become more frequent, it makes the stakes of Cutler’s work that much higher.

“When we're going to 'em, we want to make sure we get there in time before somebody does something that is going to change everybody's life for the worse,” Cutler said.

As for other reasons there's an increase in road rage incidents, Cutler isn't sure. There's no denying that there's been more road rage since the start of the pandemic but pinning down a cause is difficult.

Cutler's advice: If you see someone acting aggressively, try to distance yourself from them. And if you’re being followed, stay within view of other people.

As a general assignment reporter and backup host, I gather news and write stories for broadcast, and I fill in to host for Morning Edition or All Things Considered when the need arises.