Road rage incidents have continued to rise within the last couple of years. As we are early into this new year, there have already been unfortunate incidents that include fatalities, but hopefully are not setting a precedent for upcoming months. However, the reported acts of road rage are becoming more and more frequent with aggressive drivers, excessive tempers flaring resulting in shootings on the streets and freeways, as well as those who are being prosecuted for brandishing a firearm to intimidate. Fortunately, this article will give a few tips on how to not become a raging driver and act on impulse. The more drivers who follow safe practices, it is hoped the less incidents of road rage will occur.
The reasons for a driver becoming enraged at another vary greatly. Another driver may be following too closely, drivers who cannot exceed the speed limit due to traffic flow, and driving mistakes that cause outrage. Aside from impatience for other drivers, high-anger drivers engage in hostile, aggressive thinking, expressing disbelief about how others drive and consider revenge, according to Psychology Today. However, it is not only the everyday frustrations of driving and aggressive high-anger drivers that are factors in egregious behaviors; emotional and personal matters also come into play.
According to the American Psychological Society, in a post entitled "The Fast and the Furious," high life stress and displaced anger can cause drivers to irritation more quickly and become more aggressive. This behavior is likely not limited to behind the wheel. "Road Ragers are angry before they get behind the wheel, and the dangerous link between negative emotions and actions while driving may be exacerbated by road conditions and other drivers."
California Highway Patrol was called at 4:55 pm on a Tuesday in February to investigate a road-rage shooting on the 405 freeway. The victim was wounded but did not sustain life-threatening injuries, nonetheless, was shot in a road rage incident.
Also in February, at 3:56 pm, the City of Riverside's Public Safety Communications Center received calls that a vehicle had collided with a tree along E. La Cadena Drive in Riverside. When first responders arrived at the scene, they found the vehicle driver suffering from a gunshot wound that would later cause him to succumb to his injuries. The victim's partner and their 4- and three-month-old children were inside the vehicle at the time of the shooting, which caused the collision into the tree, and were treated for minor injuries. The investigation determined the family had encountered an aggressive driver who appeared angry and continued to follow them. Eventually, the suspect vehicle pulled up alongside the family, pulled out a firearm, and fired a single gunshot into the car. Detectives believe the shooting stemmed from the suspect engaging in a road rage incident with the young family. Nearby security camera footage helped to develop leads and ultimately identify the 64-year-old suspect, who was arrested and booked into Robert Presley Detention Center for murder and attempted murder.
Last year, a 20-year-old who shot at another motorist during a road rage confrontation on the 91 Freeway in Corona was charged with attempted murder and a sentence-enhancing gun-use allegation. The suspect pled guilty and was sentenced to five years in state prison. According to the California Highway Patrol, there were an unknown number of rounds fired at the victim's vehicle before the suspect sped away. CHP obtained the license plate number of the car identified as the shooter's vehicle with surveillance video cameras leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter.
In another alleged road rage incident, officers were called to the Tower Federal Credit Union in Pasadena after a report by a 65-year-old woman who had a handgun pointed at her and stated the car had driven into the credit union parking lot. Officers found the vehicle in the drive-thru of the credit union, as the victim identified the driver as the person who had brandished the firearm. While searching the suspect vehicle, officers found a loaded semiautomatic handgun; the driver was immediately arrested and charged.
In May 2022, the California Highway Patrol Riverside Office Commander, Capt. Levi Miller stated, "The California Highway Patrol takes aggressive driving and road rage seriously and will actively investigate these incidents, said. "The CHP has highly trained personnel assigned to investigate all crimes occurring on our freeways." This statement came after a local man was arrested for accusations of flashing a handgun during a road rage confrontation in Norco. The driver was located, and taken into custody. However, this case remains alleged as no sentencing has been handed down by the judicial system and remains open after a full year. These allegations are serious and must be proven beyond doubt through extensive evidence and thorough investigation.
How to Ensure You are Not a Road Rager
Here are a few tips to ensure you are not that "angry, aggressive driver."
· Do not get behind the wheel of a vehicle angry, full of stress, or take a drive to blow off steam.
· Leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid driving recklessly or aggressively.
· Ensure you have a full gas tank and cell phone with your pre-programmed GPS ready to lead you to your destination without any complications that may cause anger or aggression.
· Remember, safe driving involves patience and empathy. Avoid negative emotion and replace it with positive emotion. There may be a good reason for someone traveling too slowly or to your liking if someone is following too close; change lanes. If you feel another driver is purposely trying to enrage you, or cause an accident, not a license plate, remove yourself from the perimeters of the vehicle and report it to law enforcement. Calling 911 and using self-control to avoid feelings of aggression or revenge towards someone you believe is driving recklessly can save lives.
The larger goal is protecting one another on the road and arriving safely at our destination, not only for ourselves but for our loved ones.
Please follow me here on Newsbreak, download the app, and register to receive the news on time as it unfolds. Always try to find something positive within your day, and if you are having one of "those days," stay off the road, and relax. If driving cannot be avoided, remember to avoid being a "Road Rager" and get to your destination safely.
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