Opinion

Whoa, already, with the road rage

The calls are starting to stand out. If you pay attention to the police blotter, maybe you’ve noticed that a few folks need to take a chill pill before hitting the gas.

On Tuesday, March 11, a man got out of his car in North Bend and chased another driver with a 2X4, after the person in front didn’t let him through a locking security gate at a local storage facility. The caller managed to outrun his lumber-brandishing pursuer.

Then, on March 15, a driver pulled over on North Bend Way for a break, when a guy drove up behind her in a beat-up car and started honking his horn and calling her names. It unnerved her enough for her to call Snoqualmie police. A day later, there was a report of reckless driving by some boys in Snoqualmie.

There was even some shopping-cart rage back in January, when a man rammed his shopping cart into items at QFC after losing his cool.

Time for a reminder that we should all try to be better citizens behind the wheel.

According to American Family Insurance, if you tailgate slower vehicles to encourage them to speed up or get out of your way, or make inappropriate gestures, or honk your horn or flash your lights at drivers who are not meeting your standards, or push yellow lights to the point that they sometimes turn red before you are all the way through the intersection, then guess what: You are an aggressive driver. It’s time to rethink your behavior.

You cannot control traffic, but you can control your reaction to it. First, don’t assume other drivers’ mistakes are personal; we all have bad days.

If another driver challenges you, avoid eye contact and move out of the way. Driving is not a game, and you should never underestimate another driver’s capacity for mayhem. Never pull off on the side of the road to try and straighten out the situation.

If you see aggressive driving, report it to the police. Give a vehicle description, license plate number, location and direction of travel. Let the police warn the offender before someone gets hurt. We shouldn’t have to be fearful of bullies on the road.

Put down the cell phone

April happens to be National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Firefighters at Eastside Fire & Rescue are using this month to remind people behind the wheel that they need to be focusing on driving—not on their cell phones, texts or other “multitasking.”

Chief Lee Soptich says there are more similarities than differences between driving while intoxicated accidents to driving while distracted accidents.

“Both scenarios lead to diminished response times and often the outcome is destruction of property, serious injuries, or death.  When you factor in insurance, legal, repair/recovery costs, along with suffering and embarrassment, always in hindsight one would ask, what was I thinking?”

Also, hands-free is not risk free. While many believe using the hands-free option greatly reduces or even removes risk, recent reports refute that thinking, according to EFR. Talking on hands-free or handheld cellular devices requires multitasking, which has no place while operating a moving object weighing several thousand pounds.

 

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