Violent Road Rage: A Growing
Road rage and aggressive incidents are on the rise across the United States. Recent incidents across the country have created much concern
for law enforcement and motorists. Last week, 18-year-old Bianca Nikol Roberson was on her way home from a shopping trip in Pennsylvania
when she was shot in the head and killed while her car was still in motion by another most as the two of them jockeyed for position into a
single lane near West Chester, Pennsylvania. Bianca had just graduated from high school and was preparing to enroll at Jacksonville
University this fall. The shooter, 28-year-old David Desper, fled the scene sparking a statewide manhunt for several days. Desper turned
himself in and is currently facing multiple charges including first degree murder and reckless endangerment.
Incidents of road rage incidents are becoming increasingly violent. Nowadays, many motorists are carrying weapons, which results in more
dire consequences. So instead of “flipping someone off or giving them the bird,” some motorists are now pulling out their handguns to settle
their disputes resulting in more deadly situations. The Trace, a non-profit organization that studies gun issues, stated that over 600 gun-
involved road-rage incidents occurred last year, doubling in number from the past two years. The situation is destined to get worse as we
continue to relax gun laws and more motorists are carrying concealed weapons with permits. It would be my guess that most people carrying a
weapon don’t wake up in the morning thinking, “This is going to be the day I am going to go out and shoot someone.” But in the case of Bianca,
if you have an encounter with someone like Mr. Desper who has become so enraged that instead of honking the horn or giving someone the
finger, you actually pull out a gun and shoot them, it is beyond tragic.
Recent studies indicate that aggressive driving accounts for two out of every three traffic fatalities. Road rage stems from aggressive driving.
Some examples of aggressive driving include, but are not limited to, speeding, tailgating, abrupt lane changes, or even driving with high
beams when approaching vehicles, and talking on a cell phone. Thirty-seven percent of aggressive driving incidents occur with at least one
firearm. More guns on the roads increase the likelihood that the person you are encountering in road rage incident may be armed. Each year in
the U.S., hundreds of people are killed or injured in road rage incidents.
There are several techniques that you can employ to keep yourself and passengers safe if you encounter an out of control motorist. For
example, if you inadvertently cut someone off (which I have done a time or two over the course of my forty years of driving) try waving,
putting up the peace symbol or mouthing that you are sorry. It could help to diffuse the situation, particularly if you believe that the person is
upset. If someone approaches you while you are in your vehicle after an incident, call 911. Stay on the phone with the dispatcher until help
arrives and by all means, do not make contact. And remain as calm as possible. Remember, you don’t have to “win” in situations like these
because the stakes are too high. Please do not get into a heated argument with someone who could potentially be armed. Stay safe.