- As Temperatures Rise, So Do Tempers! Michigan Road Rage Accidents Make Headlines
As Temperatures Rise, So Do Tempers! Michigan Road Rage Accidents Make Headlines
Whenever summer approaches, concerns about road rage accidents seem to increase. Open car windows lend themselves to “self-expression” of a less than pleasant nature. It appears that a few ill-chosen words or seemingly minor hand gestures can lead to big consequences. Consider these recent examples from close to home…
From WDIV TV (Detroit) July 8:
“A Detroit man is facing several charges following the fatal shooting of a Detroit Fire Department lieutenant in Troy on Monday. (The alleged shooter) was charged Thursday with count of open murder, one count of possession of a felony firearm and one count of carrying a concealed weapon in the alleged road rage shooting that killed 55-year-old Lieutenant Frank Dombrowski. According to Troy police, Dombrowski was shot in the parking lot of a Shell gas station at the corner of Rochester and East Wattles roads. Officials say that the shooting was triggered by a traffic dispute.”
From Fox 2 TV (Detroit) May 5:
“A driver threw an iced tea at victims before someone in his car shot at them (the victims) during a road rage incident in Troy last week. Police said the victims were in a work van on northbound I-75 when they saw a Chrysler 300 driving erratically. As the victims were exiting at Big Beaver, the 300 drove onto the shoulder of the ramp and hit several traffic cones. Police said the driver motioned for the victims to roll down their window at a red light. He then got out of his car and threw an Arizona iced tea at them. While driving away after the light turned green, the victims heard a bang, so they drove to the police station where a bullet hole was found on the passenger side of the van.”
From WKZO Radio (Kalamazoo) May 3:
“Police in Portage have released photos of a truck involved in an alleged road rage incident causing a crash. Investigators say the crash occurred following what was reported to be road rage between two vehicles – a gold Honda Accord driven by the victim, and a black Chevy pickup driven by an unknown, heavy-set white male with gray hair and a full beard. The victim reportedly changed lanes multiple times to avoid conflict, however, the driver of the pickup continued to move from lane to lane in front of the victim while engaging in confrontational acts.”
But it doesn’t have to be hot outside for tempers to flare
Even when the weather is cooler, road rage can still rear its ugly head, resulting in Michigan car accidents and serious injuries — not to mention miles-long traffic backups. Michigan road rage incidents this past winter made for big news here and even nationwide.
From the Detroit Free Press Feb. 5:
“Interstate 94 (was) shut down at I-275 in Romulus after a road rage incident Friday afternoon that left one person shot. A vehicle that was not part of the altercation was hit by multiple rounds of bullets, striking the front passenger once in the right knee, police said.”
From WDIV TV (Detroit) Feb. 6:
“A man was critically injured during a road rage shooting that happened on Detroit’s west side Friday, according to police. Police say the incident happened in the area of Seven Mile and Santa Barbara after two drivers started shooting at each other and one was struck. A woman and children were inside one of the vehicles involved.”
From the New York Post Dec. 1:
The newspaper posed this story as road rage, but it might be something else altogether. “Police in Michigan are investigating a dramatic, caught-on-video shooting in a Detroit suburb. The footage from Sterling Heights shows a woman getting into a black SUV and backing up — only to be cut off by a pickup truck. The gunman then gets out of the truck and unloads several shots at the SUV as the woman speeds away — while another woman watching from the front of the house screams and dashes inside.”
So, who is most likely to be a road rage victim?
As you can probably guess from reading these incident reports, road rage accidents can occur at any time, anywhere, to just about anyone. But are certain individuals more prone to be victimized — or to be perpetrators — of road rage? According to mlive.com, most of us can fall prey to the temptation to drive aggressively, which can lead to road rage — and more than 80 percent of drivers in a AAA survey admit to sometimes raging while driving. The most common aggressive tactic is tailgating, which 51 percent of drivers say they have done. Nearly one in three drivers also say they have purposely prevented another vehicle from merging, while a similar number admit to forcefully pushing their way into traffic flow. This can cause a different number of car accidents such as, side swiping, rear ending, and also serious injury to another person or even wrongful death.
With so many drivers raging on the roads, it’s probably not surprising that a National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration study found road rage incidents increased 500 percent over a ten-year period starting in 2006, and that such incidents are continuing to rise.
So, who are the most likely people to fall victim to road rage? One study referenced by the National Library of Medicine says it’s people who are not occupants of other vehicles. In other words, pedestrians and bicyclists who are relatively exposed compared to vehicle drivers and passengers are “most likely to feel that they were specifically targeted” by violent motorists, according to the authors.
How to avoid raging — or getting raged at — while on the road
Experts offer some advice on how you can stay safe from drivers who may be prone to road rage. The City of Taylor Police Department offers a helpful guide to road rage prevention. Likewise, TopDriver Driving School, which has locations in metro Detroit as well as Illinois and Ohio, has published tips on preventing road rage, as well as what to do if you’re the victim of an aggressive driver:
- Leave for your destination on time so you aren’t tempted to draw attention to yourself by driving erratically or aggressively to avoid being late.
- Don’t drive when you’re personally upset or angry; you may bring your inner rage to the road with you and harm others as a result.
- Never tailgate other vehicles or blow your horn unnecessarily (though a gentle warning tap on the horn can be helpful in many situations).
- Have empathy for other drivers. For instance, people with out-of-state license plates may not know Michigan’s highway laws or could simply be driving slowly because they’re lost.
- If you believe another driver is targeting you, don’t stop driving. Instead, drive to a police station. Your navigation system can help. Just ask Waze, Siri, or Google to take you to the nearest police precinct where you can ask for assistance from law enforcement. But sometimes, even police officers find themselves the target of raging motorists. Last October, an angry driver and her passenger attacked a Troy policeman who was trying to protect another motorist from being victimized.
Call on legal professionals when you need help
The final thing to remember in any situation where you are victimized or injured is that there are always good people willing to help. If you are the victim of a road rage accident, our team of top-rated Michigan personal injury lawyers at Mike Morse Law Firm can help. Our attorneys will fight to protect your rights and help get you the compensation you deserve after a road rage accident. To schedule a free consultation, fill out our online form or give us a call at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946). We’ll go the extra mile for you and get you the help you need to make things right.