Driving may be one of the more convenient forms of transportation, but it also comes with a unique set of stressors. Interacting with other motorists on the road, practicing "defensive driving," and abiding by traffic laws require your full attention when behind the wheel. While you probably already know you need to reach out to law enforcement in the event of an accident, police have now issued a new warning to drivers about a specific situation that needs to be reported. Read on to find out when to call 911, and how to keep yourself safe.
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Drivers have faced repeated warnings from the authorities this year.
As police are in charge of monitoring the roads, they often issue warnings to drivers when they observe certain trends. This year in particular, drivers have needed to be on high alert. In February, police instructed drivers to remove certain bumper stickers, signs, and decals from cars, as they could make you a potential target of a crime. Honor roll stickers inform criminals where your child goes to school, and those infamous family stick figures can be problematic, insinuating that you have a lot of appointments, sporting events, or are otherwise distracted, Fox 11 reported.
Additionally, rising fuel prices have put drivers' at risk of gas theft, police warned in March. The Renton Police Department in Washington asked drivers to take preventative measures and use a locking fuel cap to make it more difficult for criminals to siphon off "liquid gold." Now, authorities have issued a different warning about another driving scenario you may find yourself in.
Road rage could put you in serious danger.
We've all been on the road at some point and had a stranger tailgating us or laying on their horn. These aggressive driving habits can be intimidating and infuriating—and when you're threatened behind the wheel, you might be tempted to yell or honk your horn back. But engaging in this behavior could put you in serious danger.
According to a press release from the Illinois State Police (ISP), there has been an increase in reported road rage incidents resulting in expressway shootings. Police warn that road rage increases your risk of getting in an accident, as well as being involved in a shooting. And if you witness it or realize that you're a target, you'll want to get in touch with authorities immediately.
The risks associated with aggressive driving have spiked.
Road rage is, unfortunately, very common. And though you may not think honking or yelling will lead to injury, when situations escalate, that is the risk you run. Between January and mid-June of this year, approximately 35 percent of expressway shootings in the Chicago area have been tied back to road rage incidents, the ISP stated, as cited by victims or witnesses. This number has increased by a staggering 12 percent since 2021, police said.
"Over the past year, we've seen an increase in reported road rage incidents escalating into violence," Brendan F. Kelly, ISP director, said in the press release. "As we head into summer, high temperatures can lead to hot tempers and people losing their cool, even the dangerous or deadly use of firearms."
These aggressive tactics include cutting off other cars, improper lane changes, distracted driving, and speeding, police said, all of which can land you in a dangerous situation. The ISP urges motorists to be aware of these warning signs to avoid putting themselves in harm's way.
Fight the urge to respond to aggressive drivers.
According to the ISP, the best policy for dealing with aggressive driving is to ignore it and call 911. If you are a victim of these incidents, police urge you not to engage with the other driver or confront them—even though it might be tempting.
If you find that you are being followed by an aggressive driver, reroute yourself to the nearest police department, if possible, or to a populated area that is well-lit. Once there, police again stress the importance of calling 911.
"Getting ahead or getting even with another [driver] is not worth the risk of a deadly crash or violence," Kelly said when addressing drivers in the press release. "Keep calm and stay alive."
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