Road rage incidents are on the rise; these are steps you can take to stay safe

In Plum recently, two grown men exchanged blows and wrestled on the ground after one man cut the other off.

In Finleyville, one driver deliberately rear-ended a woman who had her kids with her in the car, backing up three times to ram her car and push her through an intersection.

Here in Western Pennsylvania, and across the country, the number of road rage incidents is up.

Trooper Rocco Gagliardi of the Pennsylvania State Police says it’s not just one group involved.

“We see it across the board--- from young teens who are angry, older males who are angry and 20-something-year-old females who are angry,” Gagliardi said.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety four out of five drivers admitted to engaging in angry behavior behind the wheel at least once in the past year.

The study found:

  • 32% made rude gestures or honked at other drivers.
  • 28% merged into traffic even when another driver tried to close the gap between vehicles.
  • 26% cut someone off by aggressively switching lanes quickly.

That’s just the people admitting to doing it.

And angry drivers are responding not just with words and gestures — but with guns.

In Nashville, Caitlyn Kaufman, an ICU nurse from Butler County was on her way to work when a driver shot and killed her.

More recently on July 3, 2022, a driver followed off-duty Oakdale officer Chuck Stipetich home - after a road rage incident on Route 28 and shot and killed the 23-year-old.

Jim Garrity from AAA says if you find yourself in this situation, take a breath and avoid eye contact. He advises you never make eye contact in those situations since that could potentially escalate things.

Here are other tips from the National Motorist’s Association:

Keep your windows rolled up.

  • Keep moving. Get away as soon as you can.
  • Never get out of your car.
  • If you are being followed, don’t drive home. Call 911.
  • Stay on well-traveled roads and avoid side streets.
  • Look for a busy shopping center or public place where you can honk your horn

Trooper Gagliardi suggests getting a dash cam that records the entire incident so it may show the other driver’s aggression. That video can be logged in as evidence.

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