Road Rage – the Real Fast and the Furious by Alina Lopez
Recent incidents of road rage have made news locally, especially because these cases have resulted in the victims being gunned down on the highway. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have seen a sharp increase of these cases; perhaps because the pandemic has introduced new stressors into people’s lives or exacerbated existing ones. Aggressive, careless driving is defined as the operation of a vehicle that puts people in danger.
Although some of these highway shootings seem to be targeted, we are seeing random events on our roads. Maybe the accessibility of firearms in the glove compartment or center console drives a motorist to pull out their weapon and threaten, or act upon their threat, against another driver. Regardless, aggressive driving puts not only the target in danger, but those around as well.
Remember that driving is a privilege and not a right. When you get behind the wheel of a car, you can be technically driving a lethal weapon, specifically if used to purposely do harm.
There are some factors that could contribute to road rage incidents such as heavy traffic, running late (which can make drivers impatient), disregard for others and the law, and habitual or learned behavior (for some drivers, aggressive driving may be the norm).
The most common forms of road rage include: tailgating, yelling, honking in anger, making angry gestures, blocking other vehicles from changing lanes, purposely cutting off other vehicles, getting out of the car to confront another driver, or deliberately bumping/ramming another vehicle.
Always keep in mind to follow all traffic laws. They’ve been put in place for a reason. Don’t tailgate or use the car horn out of frustration as these actions will only increase the stress levels for everyone on the road. Don’t stop to confront another driver because it could lead to a dangerous and violent situation.
If another driver is acting aggressive, the best way to protect ourselves is to try and get away from the situation and not engage or provoke the behavior. In fact, try not even make eye contact. It’s not worth it. Defuse the situation.
- Stay away. Change lanes safely or even exit the highway to keep a safe distance from the aggressor.
- Don’t reciprocate. Ignore the temptation to respond to the other driver. It could escalate the actions.
- Don’t stop. It could lead to a confrontation which could become dangerous and even worse, deadly.
- Watch your back. Keep your doors locked, windows up, and drive to the nearest police station or highly trafficked area.
- Call 911 if you feel threatened or in danger.
We can all do our part to keep the streets and highways a safe place to travel in.
To contact our office, call 305-470-1670 or visit our website at www.citizenscrimewatch.org.
Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and be safe!
Written by: Alina Lopez