WINTER PARK, Colo. (KDVR) — Colorado State Patrol reports about 80,000 calls a year for aggressive driving. According to AAA Colorado, trends show a growing number of road rage incidents in the state.

Economics, politics and the pandemic have had their impacts on these trends, but there is a way to avoid the worst on the open road.

“The vast majority of those don’t result in violence,” said Skyler McKinley, of AAA Colorado. He said around 730 road rage incidents involved a gun last year in the U.S.

Aggressive drivers have been an issue on Colorado roads for years.

“In Colorado, every year since 2017 has been the deadliest year on our roadways since 2002,” McKinley said. That trend has become deadly when these incidents happen.

“Generally speaking, road rage is a factor in about half of all fatalities,” McKinley said.

Roadway deaths have jumped 15%

AAA Colorado reports drivers logging the same number of miles now as before the pandemic, starting in 2019. “At the same time, fatalities on our roadways jumped 15% over 2019,” McKinley said.

The pandemic, political and even fiscal impacts on Coloradans have contributed to a rise in aggressive drivers.

“All of these economic underpinnings tend to have some root in, at least, in violent behavior, which is what we see in our roadways,” McKinley said.

With these figures showing more aggressive drivers on the roads, there is a route you can take to avoid the worst-case scenario.

“Always be a defensive driver, that’s key, and always be courteous,” McKinley said.

The golden rule is a green light to staying safe.

“A little extra caution, a little extra courtesy, abiding by speed limits can help protect you a little bit,” McKinley said.