The traffic in California can get pretty bad, as anyone who’s ever driver through Los Angeles can attest. The California DMV reported 26,484,646 current driver’s licenses and 35,310,563 registered vehicles for 2016. With all those cars, it’s no wonder the roads get congested sometimes. And with all that congestion, some frustration is natural.
Unfortunately, for some drivers, everyday frustration turns into deadly road rage.
On May 9, one driver shot another in an incident being blamed on road rage on the I-15 in Fontana. NBC reports that the victim is expected to recover.
Earlier in May, a man sprayed gasoline on a woman at a gas station in Monterey, in another incident related to road rage. Watsonville Patch reports that the man was arrested on multiple charges.
In April, a man got out of his car and started shooting during a road rage incident in San Mateo. KRON4 reports that and the man was shot and killed after ignoring orders from the California Highway Patrol to put down his gun.
Also in April, a San Diego woman received a six-year prison sentence for causing the death of a man during a road rage incident in 2015. The Los Angeles Times reports that the woman, who pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter, sobbed as she was sentenced.
When road rage causes drivers to lose control, the situation ends badly for everyone involved. Luckily, there are several things drivers can do to prevent road rage.
Don’t make frustrating traffic conditions worse.
Avoid cutting off drivers, tailgating, brake checking or engaging in other dangerous driving habits that could cause an accident or trigger another driver’s anger. Use your signals and pay attention to the road. You are not responsible for other people’s road rage, but you are accountable for your own driving. Be safe and courteous.
Don’t escalate the situation.
If another driver is experiencing road rage, try to maintain a safe distance and report any dangerous activity to the police. Don’t yell, swear or make rude gestures at drivers who aggravate you. Even if your anger is justified, these actions will not improve the situation and could lead to an escalation. Never follow a driver who has aggravated you. Never get out of your vehicle to confront a driver. Never threaten another driver, either physically or verbally.
Pay attention to your own emotions and triggers.
Give yourself plenty of time for your commute. This will help lessen your frustration with delays. Avoid driving when you are already angry. If you feel yourself getting too angry to drive safely, pull over until you have calmed down.