Only You Can Prevent Road Rage

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Even though our mission is to fill these pages with news and events that celebrate Chester County, occasionally something so tragic happens that we would be remiss if we let the event pass without comment.

Such an event happened on the Route 100 ramp feeding on to Route 202 during rush hour last Wednesday evening. 18-year-old Bianca Roberson, a recent Bayard Rustin High School graduate on her way home after shopping in Exton, was shot and killed allegedly by a Delaware County resident after the two jockeyed for position on the heavily traveled West Goshen ramp.

Thankfully, the 28-year-old suspect turned himself into police early Sunday morning.

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There are two takeaways worth considering from the senseless incident.

First, was there ever any doubt District Attorney Tom Hogan and his team of detectives and prosecutors together with the West Goshen Police Department would quickly track down the perpetrator. Once Hogan Et. al. were on the trail, it was just a matter of time before the suspect was behind bars.

The only question was whether the suspect would be taken peaceably (he was) or in a hail of bullets.

Second, at the end of the day we’re all terrible drivers. We speed, tailgate, roll through stop signs, text or fiddle with the radio while we drive, drive in the left-hand lane, merge too late, or refuse to let a late-comer merge into our lane.

We’ve all been angry when a rude, obnoxious or worse yet, a distracted driver crosses our path. We honk, curse, scream, and flip digits all in a vain effort to thwart the offending driver’s perceived thoughtlessness.

Bad driving and drivers are inevitable. There’s something about being cut off at 65 mph or being nearly broadsided by another car rolling through a stop sign that brings out the Frankenstein in most of us.

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All of us have to chill a bit.

We somehow and conveniently forget the bad driving offense that has us so upset today is the same driving faux pas we made while behind the wheel last week.

While none of us can control bad or distracted driving, consider these nine practical tips you can use to defuse the situation when you find yourself in the middle of a potential road rage incident:

  • Don’t try to teach the other driver how to be a better driver. There is no safe way to educate other drivers. It is a mistake to try.
  • Never assume that the other driver is rational or sane. You don’t know if the other driver has just learned that he has been fired, is having an argument with their SO, or is amped up on drugs.
  • Even though the incident may not be your fault, take responsibility for defusing the situation by not making eye contact with the other driver or responding to any gesture.
  • Diffuse the situation immediately by staying calm, backing off and yielding the right of way. If the incident is unfolding on a highway, put distance between your car and theirs by slowing down.
  • Buckle up. A seat belt is important to maintain proper seating position in the case of abrupt driving maneuvers.
  • Report aggressive driving by calling 9 1 1. Be ready with the vehicle description, license number, and location.
  • Avoid distractions like texting or talking on your cell phone while driving.
  • Other than alerting the other driver that they are not paying attention or are about to hit you, lay off the horn. Besides, you never know who you’re honking at.
  • Finally, immediately acknowledge and apologize for your own bad driving.

As with all endeavors, be wise. Adopt safe driving practices. Ignore provocations. Reach your destination healthy and happy!

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