The most recent edition of This Week New Albany — our local suburban newspaper — has a story about a road rage incident in our community and a warning from the police.
The incident involved two cars stopped at an intersection. The drivers exchanged words — the police don’t know exactly what was said — then one of the drivers showed the other a gun. When the threatened driver backed up, the driver with the gun leaned out of his car window and fired a shot. Fortunately, he missed.
The article states that the police “cautioned people to be aware of letting verbal altercations escalate.” No kidding! But isn’t the big challenge of a road rage incident that you are dealing with a driver who is enraged and not thinking clearly? No rational person would respond to any comment by a stranger in a nearby car by firing a shot. How can you possibly predict whether the person who cut you off, or who you honked your horn at because he hasn’t moved after the light turns green, has just lost his job, broken up with his girlfriend, or experienced some other action that has driven him over the edge of reason?
I don’t argue with other drivers, and I try to avoid eye contact with people I think are driving erratically. However, you can’t drive safely without interacting to some extent with other cars — and their potentially unbalanced drivers. You just have to keep your fingers crossed and hope that you don’t run across someone who has lost it, is armed, and is ready to act out his frustrations.