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Aggressive Driving Becomes Assault – 7 Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Road Rage

A recent press release by the Washington State Patrol, covering an accident triggered by road-rage, left the McClain Insurance team stunned.  Emotions often fly high on the road, and added stress during the busy holiday season doesn’t help.  Please stay safe, give yourself some extra time this winter, and follow the seven tips below to return home safely.

An altercation has Washington State Patrol detectives investigating twin brothers and their father for assault as they were returning home from a camping trip last Sunday afternoon.

911 operators were first alerted by witnesses calling to report a vehicle being hit with a stick southbound State Route 167 near Algona.  During the next few minutes, calls continued describing an altercation in progress and two separate collisions related to the altercation.  Troopers were guided to the incident through witnesses and arrived to discover two damaged vehicles and a victim driver with a bloody face. 

The incident reportedly started when a blue Chevrolet Blazer merged onto southbound SR 167 from SR 18 and moved across all lanes cutting in front of a Honda Accord then suddenly slowing.  The driver of the Honda responded with a “what are you doing?” gesture and attempted to move around the slow moving Blazer.  The Blazer was occupied by 25 year old twin brothers from Shelton who began yelling at the Honda and aggressively following it through traffic.  According to witnesses, a second blue Chevrolet Blazer driven by the twins’ father, a 50 year old from Tacoma, was also involved in forcing the Honda onto the shoulder. 

According to witnesses the driver of the first Blazer, Michael Parker, “jumped out and climbed onto the hood” of the Honda while hitting it with a club.  The Blazers’ passenger, Kyle Parker, reached into the Honda and struck the driver in the face multiple times. Fearing for his and his passenger’s lives, the Honda’s driver struck the right barrier in an attempt to flee and dislodge Kyle Parker from his vehicle. Both Blazers fled the scene, but were located moments later on Valley Ave East where troopers took the suspects into custody.

Kyle and Michael parker were booked into King County jail. Their father was released from custody, but the investigation is ongoing for felony charges related to all three suspects.                    

Aside from injuries sustained in the assault to the driver of the Honda, no other injuries were reported in this incident.  A fourth vehicle, a silver Chevrolet HHR, received minor damage to the rear during the incident.

This road rage incident is an unfortunate example of what can happen when people bring life’s frustrations to their driving.  Even a small gesture of what are you doing or the honk of a horn can spark rage in some people.  The most unassuming display of irritation at another driver may set off a chain reaction that may end badly.  When possible, slowing and allowing a driver making poor choices to proceed on without reacting may be the choice that keeps you safe. 

Some tips to help avoid being a victim of road rage are:

•     Slow and stay away from the other car, avoiding eye contact when possible.

•     Try reducing your stress so you are not likely to respond to other driver’s errors. 

•     Allow yourself extra time so you are not rushed in your commute. 

•     Don’t assume that another driver’s mistake is directed at you. 

•     Try not to respond with any gesture, talking or yelling at the other driver.

•     Avoid displaying anger by using your horn or flashing your lights. 

•     When in doubt let the other car go first. 

Being polite to other drivers and staying calm may not solve road rage but it may help you from being pulled into a dangerous situation.  If a situation gets out of control call 911 as soon as possible to get help on the way.

Remember like any officer stopping a vehicle, the unknown of what is going on with another driver’s day could be a danger to you.

 

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