Editorial - Road rage case should cause all drivers to reflectA Villard man was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a road rage incident last October. After he was passed on Highway 27, he became frustrated and took his anger out on the occupants of the vehicle by nearly crashing into them and even angrily waving a gun at them.
A Villard man was recently sentenced to three years in prison for a road rage incident last October. After he was passed on Highway 27, he became frustrated and took his anger out on the occupants of the vehicle by nearly crashing into them and even angrily waving a gun at them.
He picked the wrong car to mess with. Two off-duty Douglas County sheriff’s deputies were inside. With help from on-duty officers, the angry driver was arrested at gunpoint and a stash of methamphetamine was found in his vehicle.
The incident, with its ironic twist, made a big splash in the news, as it should have, but it should also cause drivers everywhere to ponder a simple thought: How aggressive are they behind the wheel? Sure, it’s not likely many drivers are carrying a gun, even a BB-gun, in their vehicle, but they could be carrying around anger that shouldn’t be transferred to other drivers.
Lashing out at other drivers is a form of bullying. American Family Insurance distributed a news release last week, reminding drivers of that fact. The company said drivers should ask themselves these questions:
Do you tailgate slower vehicles to encourage them to speed up or get out of your way?
Do you weave in and out of heavy traffic to “make better time?”
Do you make inappropriate gestures, honk your horn or flash your headlights at drivers who are not meeting your standards?
Do you push yellow lights to the point that they sometimes turn red before you are all the way through the intersection?
If your answer is yes to any of the above, you may want to rethink your driving behavior, the company said. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates two-thirds of traffic fatalities are at least partly caused by aggressive driving.
American Family Insurance offered this advice for driving smart and not letting the road bullies get to you.
Remember that you cannot control traffic, but you can control your reaction to it. Assume other drivers’ mistakes are not personal; we all have bad days. Be polite and courteous, even if the other driver is not.
If another driver challenges you, avoid eye contact and move out of the way. Driving is not a game, and you should never underestimate the other driver’s capacity for mayhem. Under no circumstances should you pull off on the side of the road to try and straighten out the situation.
Report aggressive driving behavior to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel.
In summary, keep your composure when driving. Don’t try to make others do what you want them to do, or retaliate against someone who’s driving recklessly. Courtesy is contagious.
If those tips don’t convince you. Remember what happened to that Villard driver. You never know who is in the vehicle that you’re venting your anger toward. It could backfire, badly.