Conversations have been on the topic of road rage following this week’s vicious attack in a road rage incident in which a woman had both her arms broken by a man wielding a crowbar. EPS Sgt. Kerry Bates popped into 630CHED’s Ryan Jespersen Show to add his perspective.
While he was working a desk in a community station he says he’d take in a pretty steady stream of complaints about ignorant drivers, but it’s hard to say that road rage incidents are on the rise.
“You see some instances of it but it’s still a story, right? People never perceive the police are there when something is actually happening, but if we see something like this going on in traffic of course we react to it and deal with it.”
He said if you’re on the receiving end of a road rage incident, try to collect as much information as you can. Note the time, date, and location. Try and record the licence plate number and make and model of the offending vehicle.
“If a complainant says to us, ‘well, here’s a license number, can you phone and shake your finger at them over the phone’ sort of thing, that really takes up a lot of time. It’s not feasible for us to do that. But, if you come into a station make a report, give us a written statement and are willing to follow through with the court process if required, then we’ll follow through with it.”
He said, there’s nothing from his perspective that justifies getting out of your vehicle for a confrontation.
“If someone’s cut you off, fine. They’ve cut you off. Back off, give them some space. Don’t make eye contact with them. Don’t drive up beside them, flip your middle finger at them. You’ll get a reaction, may get more of a reaction than you’re planning on. We have no idea who’s driving that other car. None whatsoever.”
He stressed that you should never exit your vehicle in flowing traffic. The danger doesn’t come just from a possible attack by an enraged motorist, but also from the traffic around you.
Bates told Jespersen, if you find yourself in a tense situation on city streets, he recommends you not engage. Instead, try to actively disengage, turn off the road and circle the block, returning to your path of travel, and never get out of your vehicle in flowing traffic. If you’re rattled, pull over and centre yourself before proceeding.
While some people may be thinking about carrying a small canister of pepper spray, or even a weapon, Bates said that’s a bad idea.
“Then you’re engaging whoever you’re with. You’re better to disengage, and you know fight or flight? I’d be heavy on the flight portion of that.”
Bates says it’s better to deal with a damaged car than with serious personal injury.