What would you do if the driver next to you got angry and aggressive? What if he or she pulled a gun and fired? Recently, one Brighton resident got to find out the answer first hand.
Road rage can be a scary experience for the target of the anger. When a driver gets angry, it can sometimes force others around him or her to take evasive action.
Last month, during morning rush hour, a Brighton resident found himself the victim of a nearby driver who went into a road rage. While driving southbound on US-23 in Washtenaw County, the driver of a nearby car and shot a gun out of his driver-side window into the car. Luckily, no one was injured.
The victim immediately called 911. So did the aggressor. When the police responded to the scene, now on eastbound M-14 near Ford Road in Superior Township, the 38-year-old man from Whitmore Lake admitted to experiencing road rage. He was arrested and charged with felonious assault.
The incident happened less than two months after last year’s Howell road rage shooter was sentenced to 27 to 50 years in prison. Martin Edward shot and killed Derek Flemming, who confronted him along the road in Genoa county. Edward’s position was that he was defending against Flemming, who was attacking him in a road rage. But Judge Miriam Cavanaugh had a different perspective:
“What I also find very tragic about this situation, Mr. Zale, is your disregard for human life. . . . You went about your day almost looking for conflict, not trying to avoid it, but provoking it … you were a shooting waiting to happen. If it hadn’t been Mr. Flemming, it would have been someone else.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines road rage as when a driver “commits moving traffic offenses so as to endanger other persons or property; an assault with a motor vehicle or other dangerous weapon by the operator or passenger of one motor vehicle on the operator or passengers of another motor vehicle.”
Between 2008 and 2012, 1,380 people were killed in road rage incidents. Psychologists believe that most road rage incidents are overreactions to life stress combined with the increased stress of heavy traffic. These conditions push angry drivers over the edge and cause them to drive aggressively.
The American Safety Council warns not to cause road rage by driving distracted, failing to signal your turns, or cutting other drivers off. It advises:
If you find that you have agitated another driver, whether the fault is truly yours or not, do not react or retaliate to the other driver on the road. This will only cause the situation to escalate. Remind yourself that the other driver is just bad at handling stress, avoid eye contact and continue to practice safe driving habits.
Safe, non-confrontational driving habits are the best way to protect yourself and your passengers from aggressive drivers. If you find yourself the victim of a road rage incident, contact the auto accident attorneys at Christensen Law for a free consultation.