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Drivers advised to steer clear of altercations with other motorists

Last evening at around 11:30 p.m. in a New Orleans neighborhood, a 28-year-old man who was driving a Hummer H2 rear-ended a Mercedes that was driven by 34-year-old former NFL player Will Smith. According to a police report detailing the incident, the two men engaged in a verbal argument at which time the 28-year-old driver shot and fatally-wounded Smith and injured Smith's wife who was a passenger in the Mercedes.

This shocking incident is just one of several high-profile cases of road rage that have made headlines in recent weeks. In another incident that occurred in Minneapolis, a woman was shot four times by a passenger after she honked at the driver of a vehicle that cut her off. These shocking and disturbing incidents are just the most-recent examples of a troubling trend as the number of reported road-rage incidents throughout the U.S. continue to increase.

According to the National Highway Safety Administration, during 2014 alone, a total of 418 people suffered fatal injuries in motor vehicle accidents that were linked to aggressive driving or acts of road rage. This figure represents a 78 percent increase in the number of road-rage related deaths since 2009.

At some point or another, most drivers have likely experienced their fair share of frustration or annoyance due to the actions, or failures to act, of other motorists. However, as these types of tragic events remind us, it's more important than ever to remain calm and to avoid any type of altercation. While some violent acts of road rage appear to unfortunately be unavoidable, the National Motorists Association offers the following tips for both avoiding confrontations with other drivers and for dealing with aggressive drivers.

  • Be courteous to all drivers
  • Avoid following other drivers too closely
  • Do not shout, glare or gesture at other drivers
  • Avoid making eye contact with an angry and aggressive driver
  • Don't stop or exit a vehicle to confront an aggressive driver
  • When possible, remain traveling on busy and well-lit roads
  • In cases where a driver fears for his or her safety, dial 911 and report an aggressive driver

Source: USA Today, "Ex-NFL player's death turns spotlight on road rage," John Bacon, April 11, 2016

Reuters, "Retired NFL star Will Smith shot dead in New Orleans," Brendan O'Brien, April 11, 2016

WCCO-TV, "Woman Suffers 4 Gunshot Wounds In Mpls. Road Rage Incident," April 6, 2016

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