Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Road Rage Revisited

This past Monday, The Overland Park Police Department responded on a reported shooting in the area of W. 79th and Metcalf that stemmed from a road rage incident. Luckily, no one was hurt when at least five rounds were fired from a handgun at another driver.

Our preliminary investigation of the incident on Monday indicated both drivers were engaged in aggressive driving that put the lives of others at risk. The ordeal subsequently ended up with one of the driver’s pulling out a handgun and letting a few rounds fly towards the other driver. Certainly this is not the kind of report we expect to be taking during the morning commute.

The actions of these two drivers are a daily occurrence on our roadways all across the nation. Conduct a search of the topic and you’ll find numerous cases where the situation like the one above has been played out numerous times but with tragic outcomes.

Aggressive driving and road rage incidents are directly related to each other and reports of both continue to rise. During 2012, Overland Park Officers took a total of 77 reported road rage incidents. Many of them resulted in no charges while others would be categorized as forms of assault, battery, criminal damage to property, and disorderly conduct reports. The number of reports should be higher, but a lot of these encounters are never reported to police.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that road rage "involves a criminal act of violence, whereas aggressive driving can range from tailgating, to speeding, to running red lights." Here are a few NHTSA tips to help you avoid becoming another “Road Rage” statistic:

  •  Don't take traffic problems personally
  • Avoid eye contact with an aggressive driver
  • Don't make obscene gestures ("that makes you a player and suddenly it begins to escalate")
  • Don't tailgate
  • Use your horn sparingly (the polite honk can be misinterpreted)
  • Don't block the passing lane (some drivers think you're doing something to them when you do this)
  • Don't block the right hand turn lane
 The old saying “it takes two to tango” is providential when discussing road rage and aggressive driving because in a majority of the cases it was the actions of both drivers that caused the escalation. Do yourself and the general public a favor and make the choice not to engage in this type of behavior.