There are plenty of steps to take when involved in a car accident. Most people understand you should call the police, seek medical attention, and document as much evidence as you can. Generally, time is of the essence in these initial moments as you react to all that has just happened. However, something that is often overlooked when discussing the aftermath of an accident is the emotional state of those involved. Motorist safety does not just apply to the safety of your life as you operate your vehicle, but it also applies to all types of interaction you may have with another driver or passenger of the other vehicle. In moments of extreme danger, fear can quickly turn to anger, and that anger may threaten your safety as a motorist.
Minor Accident Leads to Fatal Shooting in Jupiter
Florida Highway Patrol reports that one driver lost his life Friday afternoon after a minor accident on I-95 near Donald Ross Road. The accident took place around 1:30 PM, leading both drivers to pull over. Once out of their vehicles, an argument began between the two motorists and it quickly escalated to shots being fired, leaving one driver fatally wounded. According to Florida Highway Patrol, no shots were fired from the man who passed away. The incident was called in by the shooter himself as he stayed at the scene. It is still unsure if the shooter was firing in self-defense, but it is clear that tensions were high between the two drivers when they pulled over to assess the damage from the accident.
Motorist Safety Tips
It is natural to want to react to your emotions during a situation like this, but it is crucial that you give yourself time to calm down first. By following a few simple motorist safety tips, you can give yourself the time you need to consider your reaction before you put it into action.
Consider the Following Methods:
- Stay in your car and call 911. There is no immediate reason for you to exit your vehicle until the police arrive. Lock your doors and stay on the phone with the dispatcher until help arrives.
- Look for witnesses. If you do not have witnesses nearby, consider driving to the nearest police station or convenience store, but stay on the phone with the dispatcher and keep them updated on where you are going and why.
- Do not drive home. The last thing you want to do is show an aggressive person where you live.
- Do not engage with the other driver. If the other driver is angry and yelling at you, do not engage. This is not the time to make your argument known. Chances are good that this driver is too angry to properly consider your side anyway, and explaining yourself could only make things worse.
Statistics to Consider
If you are still not sure that aggressive behavior can threaten your safety as a motorist, consider these statistics that were reported by CNN:
According to 2016 statistics from the American Automobile Association's Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 80% of polled drivers expressed serious aggression, anger, or road rage while driving at least once in a year. It also reported:
- 51% of respondents tailgate on purpose. That's 104 million American drivers who ride another car's bumper.
- 47% of those polled yell at other drivers. That's 95 million drivers yelling.
- 45% of drivers honk in anger or annoyance, which means 91 million of us lay on our horns.
- 33% or 67 million drivers gesture obscenely.
- 49 million of us – that's 24% – try to block another vehicle from changing lanes.
- Half of those people, or 12% of all drivers, actually cut off another driver on purpose.
- 8 million drivers, or 4% of us, will get out of our cars to confront the other driver.
- And, finally, some 6 million of us (3%) are guilty of ramming another car on purpose.
Additionally, gun violence is on the rise with car accidents. CNN goes on to explain:
The Trace, a nonprofit news organization that tracks gun violence, found incidents of drivers who brandished a gun in a threatening manner or fired a gun at another driver or passenger rose from 247 in 2014 to 620 in 2016. In the first six months of 2017, they tracked 325 incidents – nearly two a day. The Trace is nonpartisan and started with funding from the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety.
Contact a Firm You Can Trust
If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident with road rage or aggression, contact the law offices of Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh today. Our lawyers and staff are heavily involved in the Jupiter community. While this fact may not seem crucial to your individual situation, it can end up making a big difference in the outcome of your story. Our office has an outstanding relationship with the Jupiter Police Department and Jupiter Medical Center. Contact a trusted lawyer today at Keller, Melchiorre & Walsh and we will help you on your way to recovery.