The dangers of road rage are again in focus following of a tragic incident in Houston, Texas Monday. According to local authorities, a woman fatally shot a man following a minor traffic skirmish.
Road rage turns deadly
Crystal Scott, 23, was on her way to work Monday morning when she was involved in a minor traffic accident with a man in a pickup truck. Scott pulled over with the intent of exchanging insurance information. The man driving the truck then got out of his vehicle and ran toward Ms. Scott. Next, he began yelling at her and beating on her car.
When he tried to enter her vehicle, Scott took action.
Man tried to enter vehicle
Harris County sheriff’s deputy Thomas Gilliland told the Houston Chronicle:
“He was attempting to open the car door while striking the driver’s side window.”
Scott, who has a concealed weapons permit, drew a pistol and fatally shot the man in the chest.
The man’s name has not yet been released by local authorities, pending their ongoing investigation into the matter.
Letitia Quinones, Scott’s lawyer, told the Houston Chronical her client is laying low:
“She’s very traumatized about what has occurred,” she said. “We’re just letting her recover and deal with what is happening.”
Road rage is a disturbing trend
It is only the most recent incident in a disturbing trend across the nation. In a recent study, says AOL Autos, 90 percent of those surveyed said they were either subjected to or witnessed road rage in the prior 12 months. During a record a 7-year period in the 1990s, 218 people were murdered and 12,000 were injured over road rage incidents.
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According to AOL Autos, Carissa Williams, a 24-year-old New Hampshire woman, was sentenced to seven years in prison for using a stun gun on a pregnant motorist who offended her by talking on her cell phone while driving.
‘Driving under the influence of impaired emotions’
Leon James, a psychology teacher at the University of Hawaii, said to U.S. News:
“Road rage is driving under the influence of impaired emotions. It’s triggered by mental assumptions we’re making about other drivers — like assuming someone is doing something on purpose to bother you, because they’re inconsiderate.”
Pull over and calm yourself
Of all the places to be when feeling slighted and looking for equity, automobiles are probably among the most volatile. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s coordinator of research and education, Bruce Hamilton, said that tempers flare easily in the stress of traffic:
“Sometimes, your temper may flare because another driver did something dangerous to put you and your passengers at risk. In those cases, it’s natural to feel angry and shaken.”
Hamilton suggests pulling over to calm yourself down before acting emotionally in such incidents. Further, he suggests phoning the authorities and reporting the incident if it is warranted.