Should you Call 911 for Road Rage Assistance?
People call 911 for all sorts of outlandish reasons. Perhaps one of the most humiliating scenarios involves the poor sap who had to tell authorities that he was simply going to the bathroom after his neighbor put in a call to 911, lamenting about loud noises and shouting.
It’s ridiculous stories like these that make you second-guess whether you’re justified in dialing those three little numbers that can prompt a swath of authorities to appear in mere minutes. Now, just imagine you’re faced with the gray area that is road rage. Do you recall the poor bathroom user and handle it on your own, or do you call it in?
Road rage is lethal
According to The AAA Foundation for Traffic and Safety, between 1990 and 1996, road rage was linked to at least 12,610 injuries and 218 deaths. Moreover, the source learned through its research that road rage incidents saw a 6 percent increase over the span of six years.
“Between 1990 and 1996, road rage was linked to at least 12,610 injuries.”
In July, CNN reported on the harrowing incident of a Florida man was shot allegedly as a result of someone’s road rage. Prior to his death, the driver called the authorities to report a man who was trying to run him off the road. Once the two cars came to a stop, the aggressor allegedly exited his vehicle and killed the driver.
Some speculate that the upswing in road rage incidents stems from people having to endure longer commutes. Psychologist Jerry Deffenbacher, Ph.D., explained that people who have bad tempers behind the wheel also exhibit hostile thoughts, take more risks on the road and behave more aggressively.
Stories like the Florida man’s in tandem with research support the notion that a driver can and should call the police when head-to-head with a person who has road rage. You can reduce your risk of facing danger and feel confident about calling 911 by learning the signs of road rage.
The Department of Motor Vehicles stated that an aggressive driver is someone who tailgates, uses the horn, flashes the headlights, changes lanes fast, chats on a mobile device and makes gestures at other people. If and when you encounter someone who meets one or all of these criterion, use your best judgment. If your instinct is to call 911, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
While you’re waiting for the authorities’ advice, do your best to get away from the aggressor. The DMV.org suggested taking a deep breath and remaining calm throughout the situation.