8 out of every 10 drivers have been involved in road rage incidents
There are aggressions among disgruntled drivers that go beyond physical violence, some can even involve firearms.
By: Edda Pujadas
DORAL, FL – After the unfortunate incident in which the Mexican actor Pablo Lyle hit a 63-year-old man because of a traffic incident and this man later died, the issue of road rage has become an important concern for both the drivers and the transit authorities.
And it should be important, according to the American Automobile Association in this year alone, 8 out of every 10 drivers were involved in some type of road rage at least once while in the highways. Unfortunately, these type of cases are not only more common every day, but now they even involve firearms in some cases.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly two-thirds of the fatal traffic accidents in the United States involve an episode of road rage, followed by an anger attack. Conferring to this study, around eight million drivers in the United States have been involved in extreme episodes of road rage while driving, including situations so alarming as people crashing maliciously on to other vehicles or those who leave their cars so as to face violently another driver.
Statistics similarly indicate that younger male drivers (between the ages of 19 and 39 years old) are significantly more propense to develop violent conduct. Similarly, road rage is more common among those drivers who have had an unsafe demeanor while driving, for example, speeding, transgressing traffic rules, etc.
Clear signs of road rage are: the aggressive use the car horn, obstruct the way for other vehicles and do obscene gestures to others, most of these conducts are well known by the majority of the drivers and they do not cause alarm, nonetheless, in many cases these actions can be the beginning of much more dangerous episodes that can even develop in fatal consequences.
Even when this issue of road rage has been growing progressively in recent years, the Public Information Officer for the Doral Police Department, Mr. Rey Valdes explains to us that this is not a new problem. “More than thirty years ago, I was a victim of road rage, at that time a driver got off his vehicle, opened my police car door and pulled me out by my tie.”
“It was a stressing moment because I was afraid that he could steal my gun. Fortunately, I was able to control it and stop it, but this is an example of everything that can happen due to a road rage incident in the streets. Definitely, consequences can be disastrous and irreversible,” rationalized Officer Valdes.
Valdes describes that in the City of Doral, the most recent case of road rage while driving was registered in February of this year. This incident began at NW 36th Street and NW 93rd Avenue, and it was caught on video around NW 87th Avenue. “This case is now in the hands of the prosecution and we are lucky that today we have the technology that helps us solve these situations.”
For Valdes, as a member of the Doral Police Department, it is very important that the drivers are aware of the importance of avoiding violent incidents in the highways. “Geographically speaking, our city sits within the metropolitan area of Miami, for this reason, every day around one hundred thousand people come to work, study or they simply cross our city, therefore staying calm while driving is vital.”
At the end of March of this year, the Florida Department of Transportation started a Social Media campaign, of which we are part of, that tries to instruct the drivers of the importance of avoiding rage and violence while driving. “This campaign is based on simple pieces of advice that will help us avoid violent behaviors, the first of which is something so simple as to get out of your home on time because it is known that most of these episodes happen when people are in a hurry.”
Generally, everything starts with a traffic infraction that bothers some driver and this starts the chain of visual and verbal aggression. Speeding, cutting or barring other vehicles, to drive very close to the car in front of you, not respecting traffic signs and to try to speed up, all of these are actions that can trigger violent episodes while driving.
Given this, the first thing to do is not to incur in any of these actions, drive with caution, respecting all the norms and traffic signs and also to be courteous with other drivers. “Now, if you are the victim of a violent driver, what is recommended is to avoid visual contact, keep your hands in the wheel, keep focused on the highway and ignore the screaming, rudeness, aggressive gestures, and more”, states Officer Valdes.
“In case the aggressive driver chases you, what the authorities recommend is to drive to a public place or even a police station. Never drive home, to your workplace, your place of study or any place that you frequent. If you are in the highway, get off it in the next available exit, even if this means to deviate from your route, at this moment, the most important thing is to get away from the violent driver.”
Valdes establishes that it is of utmost importance that you do not get off your vehicle, at this moment, the car is your refuge and if you abandon your car you can be facing a really violent person and nothing good can happen from this. If you really feel threatened, try to get as much information as possible from the vehicle: brand, make, model, color, tag number, etc. because this is what will allow you to make a formal complaint if you need to do so.