Once again, a tragedy has placed a spotlight on the problem of road rage. This time it was the Dec. 1 shooting death of former NFL player Joe McKnight in Terrytown, La.
At a news conference on Dec. 2, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said the deadly confrontation between McKnight and Ronald Gasser might have stemmed from one man cutting the other off in traffic. The homicide is still being investigated. McKnight was only 28 years old.
Here are some tips, culled from AAA materials, on how to avoid becoming a road rage victim:
- Don’t give other drivers a reason to feel offended. When you merge, make sure you have plenty of room and use your turn signal to show your intentions before making a move. If you’re in the left lane and someone wants to pass, move over and let the vehicle by.
- Don’t tailgate — allow at least a three-second space between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead.
- Don’t let an aggressive driver tempt you to retaliate. Keep your cool and continue your trip.
- Give angry drivers lots of room. If the other driver tries to pick a fight, put as much distance between your vehicle and the other vehicle as possible. Don’t, under any circumstances, pull off to the side of the road and try to settle things in a physical confrontation. Don’t exit your vehicle even if your intention is to diffuse the conflict. There’s no reason to exit your vehicle unless there has been a crash.
- Avoid eye contact if another driver is acting angry with you.
- If you believe another driver is following you or is trying to start a fight, get help. Don’t get out of your vehicle, and don’t go home. Contact the police or drive to a place where there are people around, such as a police station, convenience store, shopping center, or even a hospital. Use your horn to get someone’s attention. This will usually discourage an aggressor.