Are You Guilty of Road Rage?

Are you guilty of Road Rage? Have you been a victim of Road Rage?

Road rage attacks seem to happen in multiples in my area. I can’t help but wonder why. Is it the weather, the time of year, the time of day, the position of the moon that causes this volatile behavior?

Whenever I hear or read the words road rage my body stiffens and my heart starts to race. My brother, musician David Albert was beaten to death in a road rage attack. His crime was stopping at every stop sign and looking both ways. It happened on a beautiful tree-lined street in the small town of Bristol Borough, Pennsylvania.

That brutal crime forever changed the lives of hundreds of people. For me, my family and David’s friends and fans there will always be life with Dave and life without him. It also changed the lives of the seven men involved in David’s death. They will forever live with the memory of a 13-month-old baby’s Daddy begging for his life and regretting their decision to keep hitting him. Their families have to live with the fact that their loved one took an innocent man’s life.

A few weeks ago I was driving along a usually quiet back road and witnessed an aggressive driver get out of his car and confront another driver, That other driver shot the aggressor. I’ve asked myself a million times since then, why me? Why after what happened to my brother why did I have to witness that horror?

I most likely will never know the answer but I do know I will never stop reminding folks how quickly the silliest thing can escalate to full blown out of control and you need to remember that for many people you are their everything and for them you need to choose to live. They are so much more important than some idiot that cut you off.

  Have you ever:

  • Hit your brakes to teach a tailgater behind you a lesson?
  • Blocked the passing lane on a highway so a car cannot pass you?
  • Have you cursed, screamed at or given the finger to another driver? [This gesture has gotten people shot, stabbed or beaten to death in every single state.] [www.nhtsa.com]
  • Rudely honked your horn at another driver? [This behavior has resulted in a large number of honkers being shot or beaten.]
  • Tailgated a driver you felt was driving to slow?
  • Repeatedly flashed your high beams at a driver that has their high beams on?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are guilty of aggressive driving. That behavior puts you, your passengers and the other driver at risk of harm, even death. That other driver that you provoked could have Intermittent Explosive Disorder and some sort of weapon. That few minutes of anger, that need you had to be right could cost you your life and your family and loved ones a lifetime of pain.

Simply being aware and doing a few simple things can be the difference between your life and death or the life and death of another driver.

To avoid becoming aggressive on the road:

  • Never drive while deeply hurt, angry, tired or hungry.
  • Leave earlier than you need too. Always give yourself a time cushion in case of traffic, an accident or poor weather conditions.
  • Have water and some sort of snack in the car.
  • Have your favorite music or an audio book available.
  • Accept that you may be late, it happens and it’s not the end of the world.
  • Always have something to clean your windows and your hands.
  • Place a photo of your family, loved ones and/ or pets on your visor.
  • Keep a stress ball in the car.
  • Intentionally relax your muscles and breathe deeply. Count out loud or pray.
  • Perform simple acts of kindness by giving other drivers a break. You never know what struggles someone else is going through

There are increasing numbers of recorded cases of road rage incidents committed by either men or women that are middle age, normally calm, successful people with no history of crime, violence or drug and alcohol abuse. They become so irritated by another driver’s distraction or rudeness that they are hell bent on ‘teaching the other driver a lesson.’ Teaching that lesson is NOT your job. Your job is to arrive home safely.

How do you protect yourself from someone who is raging?

Compounding and triggering road rage in normally calm, rational people are the increasing numbers of distracted and aggressive drivers. Every single time I drive I see someone texting or talking on their phone. It definitely isn’t just teenagers. More and more mid-lifers and seniors are reading and sending texts while driving!

  • In a Nationwide Insurance survey, 37% of middle aged drivers admitted to texting while driving and 35% admitted to some other sort of multi-tasking while driving.
  • In 2015, 391,000 injuries were caused in distracted driving accidents. The same year distracted driving was cited as a major factor in 3,477 traffic deaths.
  • 9 people in the United States are killed each day as a result of distracted driving according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Keep in mind it takes only 3 seconds of distraction for a crash to occur. While driving on I-95 one day I simply looked at my dash to locate the place to plug in my Ipod and I nearly hit a bridge abutment. It was terrifying!

Don’t allow yourself to become distracted. Know where everything is in your vehicle before you drive.

To avoid becoming a victim of road rage:

  • If a driver is trying to pass you, let them. Being right is not worth dying. Once you get out of their way and move on you have taken their power away. It is that simple.
  • Never make eye contact with an aggressive driver, it can be perceived as aggression.
  • Always use your turn signal.
  • Turn off your high beams if another driver is approaching from the other direction.
  • Don’t block the road to talk to someone. [This behavior has caused dozens of shootings and beatings] [AAA]
  • If an aggressive driver is following you, do not drive to your home. Go to a police station or some other safe, well lit area.
  • Never, ever engage with an angry driver. They are irrational and you are not the ass-hat driver whisperer.
  • Never give another driver the finger or any other sort of gesture. Too many people have died as a result of this behavior. Your life is more important than being right.
  • Never, ever follow someone who is raging. Let them go and live.

I will never understand why we will stand, holding the door for four or five people at a convenience store, smiling and telling them to have a great day and then we get in our cars and will fight to the death to be the first one to merge. We post incessantly on social media about kindness and anti-bullying and then we get into our cars and become dangerous bullies. Many of us complain about other drivers bad behaviors and never admit we ourselves are just as guilty.

 

Please choose to live by always be forgiving on the road.

Road Rage has affected my family in the worst way possible. My younger brother, musician David Albert was beaten to death by a group of men who became irate because he stopped at every stop- sign. They felt he was driving too slowly. David was driving the speed limit. He was twenty-six-years –old, had a beautiful wife and a thirteen-month-old son.

I felt compelled to tell the story in the book Bristol boyz Stomp which will be rereleased later this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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