With the shooting death of former New Orleans Saint Will Smith, road rage is gaining more national attention.
Law enforcement officials in the Pine Belt said they are lucky that nothing has turned deadly yet.
“Everybody has seen it, everybody has witnessed it, you’ve probably been a victim of it,” Lamar County Sheriff Danny Rigel said. “Things have changed over the last 20 years, there’s a lot more traffic, so you never know who that other driver is going to be.”
A recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found 87 percent of respondents said they believed aggressive drivers were a “somewhat” or “very serious” threat to their personal safety.
“Locally we’ve been fortunate not to see anything escalate or turn really violent but that’s not to say it can’t happen,” Rigel said. “It can happen anywhere, I think the thing down in New Orleans is a good example of that.”
Recent studies show that men ranging from 16 to 40 years old are the most likely drivers to succumb to anger while driving.
“Just have some patience and look out for the other guy, it’d be a shame to put your family or yourself into jeopardy just because you lose a little bit of temper because somebody makes you mad,” Rigel said. “It happens all the time, so just take it with a grain of salt and try not to let it get to you.”
Drivers tailgating, running red lights, cutting off other drivers and speeding can all be triggers to road rage, but Rigel said that is what law enforcement officers are for.
“If it’s something that you are fearful that is going to escalate, or if you see some road rage you think is getting out of hand don’t try to intervene yourself call the sheriff’s department or police department and let us handle it,” Rigel said.