It was another horrifying morning yesterday on our roads and sidewalks in Dallas and in New York City.
A. We still don’t know what sparked yesterday’s road rage incident in Richardson. But we know that a 27-year-old man is dead in yet another senseless act of road rage violence that plagues our country.
While many of us were getting read to go to work or already commuting at 6:30 a.m., two men were seen swerving and speeding along U.S. 75 near Campbell Road. When they both stopped at a red light, the drivers exchanged irate words. Then one driver pulled out a gun and shot the other driver in the head. The man fled the scene and left his victim to die. Police released this photo and have asked for the public’s help in identifying the psycho driver.
B. Also yesterday morning in Dallas at 11 a.m. near I-30 and Jim Miller Road, a fire truck on its way to putting out a burning building was crashed into by a pickup truck driver who couldn’t wait and decided to run the light. Though not technically a road rage episode, the truck then crossed over the median and struck a small car, shoving it into a telephone pole. Two fire fighters and the driver of the car were injured and rushed to the emergency room.
C. And in Times Square yesterday also around 11:00 CST, a 26-year-old man drove his car onto the sidewalk, murdered a young woman, and injured 22 other people, four critically. Then the killer tried to run away. Of course.
An ISIS terrorist was initially suspected.
The driver, a Navy veteran, had two prior DWI convictions and was on PCP.
As I often wonder here, what in the world is going on our roads? And how can we stop the madness?
How does road rage happen?
Practically everybody has driven when they were tired, late, or frustrated and seen another driver do something stupid or dangerous. Most of us have probably yelled at the other driver. Understandably, drivers can get upset. But how could anybody get that angry that they would kill another driver or pedestrian?
Maybe one driver cut off the other or was in a hurry and was tailgating. Erratic driving and angry words follow and the anger escalates into violence. This is how road rage happens.
How often does this happen?
An alarming report published by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows how often road rage crosses the line into violence.
Aggressive driving causes two-thirds of all roadway deaths. More than one-third of road rage incidents involve a firearm. During a seven-year period, angry drivers murdered 218 people and injured 12,610. The statistic I found particularly frightening is that two percent of drivers actually admitted to trying to run another driver off the road in a moment of anger.
What should you do when confronted by an irate driver?
The NHTSA statistics indicate that you are very likely to be confronted by an angry driver at some point in your life. What should you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:
Do not react
One-half of drivers responded to the aggressive behavior of another driver by acting aggressively themselves. This fuels the fire and can lead to full-blown road rage. No matter how tempting it is to yell at a person who is tailgating you, cut you off or swerving in and out of your lane, instead consider your exit strategy to remove yourself calmly from the situation.
If possible, create room between you and the aggressive driver by slowing your speed to let the driver get far ahead or pulling off at the next safe exit.
Report the road rage incident to the police, taking special note of the vehicle make and model, license plate number and direction of travel if you can. Alerting police could prevent an aggressive driver from hurting other motorists or pedestrians in his wake.
Take a deep breath
Being on Dallas-Fort Worth’s congested highways can be stressful enough. Being the target of an aggressive driver can increase your stress tenfold. Take a deep breath and remember that staying safe is more important than getting to your destination on time or proving the other driver wrong.
My law firm, Berenson Injury Law, represents victims of road rage. The number of road rage victims I’ve represented has definitely increased since I started practicing 36 years ago. For example, we sued and obtained a large recovery against an 18 wheeler company and its driver who rammed our client’s vehicle several years ago, causing him to have his neck fused and lose his job.
If you were injured by an angry driver, schedule a free consultation with me to learn more about your legal rights.
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