road rage
n. Extreme anger exhibited by a motorist in response to perceived injustices committed by other drivers.
Other Forms
Other research, which analyzed more than 10,000 road rage incidents, reported that men ages 18 to 26 accounted for a majority of the confrontations, while women accounted for only 4 percent overall. The study, based on news, police and insurance reports from 1990-96, was conducted for the AAA foundation by Mizell & Co., an international security firm in Bethesda, Md. The research found that aggressive drivers tend to be young, poorly educated men with criminal records, histories of violence, or drug or alcohol problems. Many also have suffered recent emotional or professional setbacks. Yet, the study noted, hundreds of motorists with no such backgrounds also commit acts of road rage.
—Karen Patterson, “Experts note patterns in road rage, anger behind the wheel,” The Dallas Morning News, July 01, 2002
1988 (earliest)
A fit of "road rage" has landed a man in jail, accused of shooting a woman passenger who's car had "cut him off" on the highway. Robert Edward Muller Jr., 40, was in the Lake County Jail on Friday, charged with firing the shot that critically wounded Cassandra Stewart, 20, on U.S. 441 on March 19. Police said Ms. Stewart's boyfriend was driving when he was passed by a late-model Buick. A passenger in that car then stuck a pistol out of the passenger side and fired one round, shattering a rear window in the car driven by Troy Washington. Ms. Stewart was wounded in the back of the neck.
—“Highway driver accused of 'road rage' shooting,” St. Petersburg Times, April 02, 1988
The phrase road rage appeared only three times in the media from 1989 through 1993. In 1994, at least 10 stories appeared. Then things took off: In 1995, the number of stories jumped to over 200; in 1996, there were nearly 900; and in 1997, the number of stories shot up to over 2,000. Road rage was all the rage.