Fleet Watch

Seeking for Safety: What to do if another driver shows road rage

Two incidents involving road rage in the Cape Fear region made headlines this past week.

Last Saturday in Harnett County, a man flashed his lights at another driver whose lights were too bright. The driver then got out of his car and shot that man at an intersection a short time later. The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office has since taken out warrants charging the suspect with attempted murder and a number of other crimes. He was arrested Friday. On Tuesday, a woman posted a four-minute video to Facebook of an aggressive driver on U.S. 301. That video, which is under investigation by the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office, has since been shared more than 2,000 times.

Sgt. Shawn Strepay, a spokesman for the Fayetteville Police Department, offered advice on what to do should another driver begin acting aggressively. Strepay advised drivers to avoid making eye contact or making other gestures at the driver. He said such actions could cause the driver to act out more aggressively. Strepay said drivers should immediately call 911 and provide a description of the vehicle and the license plate number if possible.

He also advised against following a driver who is acting aggressively. “You could put yourself in danger by doing so,” Strepay said. For instance, in the viral video, the woman followed the aggressive driver. At one point in the video, the driver pulled up to the woman while on the wrong side of the road and shook a finger at her before driving off. An aggressive driver in that situation might start following the other driver, Strepay said. He said in such an instance as that, victims should call 911 and stay on the line with the dispatcher. “If they follow you, drive to the nearest police station,” Strepay said. He said the 911 dispatcher can give directions to the closest police station and also give other advice to drivers. While some may be tempted to take a video of the incident, such video may not be as helpful as one may think.

Even with a video, it is harder to convict a person of aggressive driving if a law enforcement officer does not witness the event. In addition, Strepay said, it is not safe for a person to drive and film at the same time.

If a passenger is able to take a video and it is safe to do so, that would be preferable, Strepay said. www.fayobserver.com