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Road Rage

What is Road Rage?

Did you know that there is a difference between aggressive driving and road rage?  Aggressive driving can be following too close, speeding, failing to signal, unsafe lane changes or any form of inconsiderate driving, and these driving behaviors are considered to be a collective traffic offense.  

Road rage, on the other hand, is a different criminal offense and involves retaliation with violence.  The violence can be anything from a physical confrontation to an assault with a weapon (including the vehicle used as a weapon).   What is surprising is that the person that insights the road rage may have done so unintentionally. 

Are Incidents of Idaho Road Rage Increasing?

The number of cars on the road keeps increasing and so do the number of aggressive drivers.  Idaho is dedicated to making the roads safer and has implemented a plan to educate people on how they can avoid road rage. The Idaho Transportation Department reported in the 2007 Annual Evaluation Plan of the Idaho Highway Safety Plan that the ‘Aggressive Fatality and Serious Injury Rate’ decreased from 7.19 in 2005 to 7.02 in 2006.  The state did not reach its goal of 6.56 but are encouraged since the rate has decreased. People are shocked when they see videos of road rage incidents. The more education drivers receive, the less road rage there will be.  People have to make a conscience effort to avoid confrontations.  Reducing stress in your life, especially while driving, can only help everybody.  There are many ways drivers can avoid incidents.

How to Avoid Confrontation.

There are some things that you can do to try to avoid someone else’s rage: 

  • If someone wants to pass you, let them.  Give aggressive drivers some room
  • Do not tailgate, flash your lights, or honk your horn annoyingly at another driver.  Your horn is not there to tell people how mad you are
  • Keep the hand gestures and nasty faces to yourself and avoid eye contact
  • If you are a slow driver, stay in the right lane.  If you see someone following you and suspect that they want a confrontation, drive to a heavily populated area or even to a police station. It is highly unlikely the aggressor will continue in front of witnesses, especially police officers


Cooler Heads Prevail

Road rage might be caused from an escalation of a stressful situation.  If this is the case, the best thing you can do is remain calm.  If another person is acting out at you, the last thing you want to do is exacerbate them.  It is really hard to fight with someone if they are not reacting.  Inside you might be boiling, but you must remain cool; take a deep breath and count to 10.  It is frustrating to drive in heavy traffic during rush hour, but there are many things you can do to reduce the stress:

  • Try listening to some music or a book on tape
  • Before you start out on a trip allow plenty of time for traffic
  • If you are late, face the reality that you are going to be late and apologize once you get to your destination.  If your boss allows you might consider altering your start time so you will avoid rush hour traffic


How it Starts and Ends

Tailgating, speeding, a vehicle weaving in and out or traffic bumper to bumper are all instances where road rage can start.  Anything that can make someone irritated can initiate road rage.  This does not mean that the action was intentional.  Have you ever almost missed an off-ramp and pulled over in front of someone so you could get off? This person may become so upset that they will uncontrollably cause harm.  They might try to run you off the road, use their car as a weapon or pull out and use a weapon they might have in the car.  You were not angry at the person you pulled in front of – you just didn’t want to drive to the next exit and turn around. This person may have had a bad day at work or could be having family troubles.  You pulling in front of them could have been “the straw that broke the camel’s back”.  The outcome of road rage varies depending on the circumstances.  In severe cases the end result could be death.  This is a criminal offense and should not be taken lightly.

Reporting Road Rage in Idaho

The best thing you can do if you see someone being violent or find yourself as a victim of road rage is call 911.  Tell the operator where you are and what is happening.  Pay attention to the license plate, color and make of the vehicle.  If you are a witness of an accident involving road rage, keep your distance!  Contact the police and, once the police arrive, describe to the officer what you saw and let the officer handle it from there.

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