Road Rage: The Scourge Of America'S Roadways

Topic: Road Rage

General Purpose: To convince

Specific Purpose: To convince the audience to combat "road rage" by increasing driver awareness

Thesis Statement: "Road rage" caused by aggressive driving tendencies is a growing epidemic affecting today's roadways, but there is a solution.

Ethos: Include myself in my statements.

Pathos: Audience should feel horrified at the consequences of road rage.

Logos: Cite statistics and research resources.


I. How many of you have ever been in a motor vehicle? Did you know that "motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among Americans 1-37 years old." With the largest % being our age group. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)

II. Many traffic accidents could have been easily prevented if not for the angry menace called road rage. Road rage caused by aggressive driving tendencies is a growing epidemic affecting today's roadways, but there is a solution.

Transition 1: As you can see road rage is a serious problem that could potentially affect us all. But many of us have different ideas of the scope of road rage.


I. You can better combat "road rage" by understanding what it is...

A. Road rage or aggressive driving is defined as behavior behind the wheel in which furious drivers lose their temper and engage in risk-taking behavior or attempt to injure or kill another driver or pedestrian over minor traffic disputes.

(Dr. Leon James, Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii, further defines road rage by breaking it down into three types)

1. Verbal Road Rage is composed of behaviors such as yelling, swearing, gesturing, honking, and insulting.

2. Quiet Road Rage includes complaining, rushing, competing, and resisting.

3. Epic Road Rage includes cutting off, blocking, chasing, fighting, and shooting.

B. You all are thinking that we've all done some of those things, but no one really gets hurt. You can be sure that's exactly what Tracie Alfieri and Narkey Terry also thought.

1. According to a June 2, Newsweek article, Tracie Alfieri became enraged by the manner in which Rene Andrews pulled into her lane. Alfieri tried to pass Andrews on the right then cut in front and hit the brakes causing Andrews to swerve into a stopped tractor resulting in the loss of Andrews' 6 month old unborn child. Tracie Alfieri was convicted this May of vehicular manslaughter and sentenced to 18 months in prison. (Newsweek)

2. In the most commonly cited incident of road rage, which ended in three deaths: Narkey Terry and Billy Canipe became involved in a game of cat and mouse because Canipe was moving too slowly in the left lane. The chase continued at 80 mph for 7 miles in morning rush hour Washington DC traffic until Terry collided with Canipe sending flying metal everywhere. Canipe spun out of control into oncoming traffic killing an approaching George Smythe; Canipe was also killed. The rear axle of Canipe's car flew over the median strip and hit the windshield of Nancy McBrien, killing her instantly. Narkey Terry who had two prior speeding convictions was convicted of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and given 10 1/2 years in prison, which is beyond the Federal guidelines. (Reader's Digest)

Transition 2: Even with these alarming examples of highway disaster, many of you still feel removed from the ever growing epidemic of road rage.

II. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says there is no one profile of an aggressive driver. Many have histories of violence, criminal records or have recently suffered emotional setbacks. The growing numbers of incidents on our roadways are being attributed to people like us, successful men and women with no prior problems.

A. A few Statistics on how highway related deaths and aggressive driving are linked.

1. U.S. News reports that the number of aggressive driving incidents have risen by 51% since 1990. (U.S. News)

2. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study shows that the number of highway deaths has increased 7% in the last 4 years and that 2/3 of these were caused by aggressive driving behavior. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration)

3. But "in a national survey by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 3/4 of 543 drivers questioned thought their driving skills were above average." (U.S. News)

B. Aggressive driving affects us all.

1. "A recent study conducted by the AAA Foundation found that nearly 90% of us have experienced an aggressive driving incident in the past twelve months." (The Subcommittee on Surface Transportation)

2. Are you a safe driver or a crash waiting to happen? Please