Warning: North Canton road rage

Warning: North Canton road rage

NORTH CANTON, OH (WOIO) - The North Canton Police Department encourages motorists to travel safely upon city streets. However, police officers have responded to two incidents of road rage within the last two days.

On Friday, January 2, 2015 an incident involved a physical assault of one driver who had to be transported to a local hospital with serious injuries to the face as result from a physical assault.

On Saturday, January 3, 2015 another incident involved one motorist threatening to shoot another motorist. Both incidents of aggressive driving involved elements of tailgating, speeding, and cutting the other driver off.

Therefore the North Canton Police Department is issuing this public safety message in hope that any more incidents of road rage can be avoided.

How can you avoid a confrontation with these types of people on the road? The National Highway Transportation and Safety Agency recommends the following tips to avoid being a victim of road rage:

  • Make every attempt to get out of the way of an aggressive driver.
  • Put your pride in the back seat. Do not challenge drivers by speeding up or trying to prevent them from getting in your lane.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Avoid eye contact. Eye contact can sometimes enrage an aggressive driver.
  • Ignore obscene gestures from other drivers, and never respond in kind. According to the AAA Foundation, "Obscene gestures have gotten people shot, stabbed, or beaten in every state."
  • Use your horn sparingly. Stressed-out motorists are often sent over the edge by a supposedly rude honk, an event that has been linked to scores of shootings.
  • Lock your car doors and, when in town, keep the windows and sunroof only partially open.
  • Report aggressive drivers to the police or highway patrol.
  • If an aggressive driver gets in an accident, stop at a safe distance from the scene, wait for police, and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.
  • If you're pursued by an angry motorist, never go home -- drive to a police station or another place where you can get help.

Aside from steering clear of hostile drivers, the AAA Foundation suggests avoiding the kind of mistakes that have provoked mentally and emotionally disturbed drivers -- and others -- to attack hapless motorists.

Here are steps the foundation suggests to avoid drawing the wrath of bullies:

  • Don't block the passing lane.
  • Stay a safe distance behind the car in front of you -- don't tailgate.
  • Always signal before you switch lanes, and make sure you don't cut anyone off.
  • Avoid the right-hand lane if you're not turning right.
  • Park with care -- don't take up more than one space, and look behind you before backing up.
  • Don't park in the handicapped zone unless you're disabled.
  • Keep your headlights on "low." If it's dark and you need high beams, dim them for oncoming traffic.
  • Don't flash your high beams at other motorists to punish them.
  • Don't block the road while talking to someone. As the AAA Foundation observes dryly, "Dozens of shootings suggest that this behavior irritates a lot of people."
  • Don't get distracted by your cell phone.
  • Refrain from displaying bumper stickers, flags, and other messages that might easily infuriate someone, such as an "IM RICH" license plate.

As tempting as it may be, avoid the urge to engage in any exchange with road 'ragers' or, worse yet, teach them a lesson.

Meeting road rage with road rage is the worst thing you could do. If you look at them and respond, it will only make them madder and you more stressed. If someone pulls up to you and starts yelling or gesturing, just let them blow off steam.

The North Canton Police Department remains vigilant in targeting aggressive driving actions regarding specific traffic laws, such as speeding, improper lane changes, and following too closely, or other forms of reckless driving behavior, in order to keep motorists from becoming a victim of road rage.

However, law enforcement cannot do this successfully without the broad acceptance of the public to obey our city and state motor vehicle laws.

Copyright 2015 WOIO. All rights reserved.