HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) — The Houston Police Department recently announced it is making road rage a high priority, even recently announcing that it is adding more manpower from other law enforcement agencies to help patrol Houston streets.
Earlier this month, HPD announced two arrests in two separate deadly road rage shootings, charging each suspect with murder.
ABC13 went one-on-one with senior police officer Roach, who is actually now teaching a community course on how to prevent road rage. He told Eyewitness News about the five tips they’re teaching drivers that will help avoid dangerous situations on the roadways.
Roach said road rage can be defined as any type of engaging with another vehicle and what he describes as a “risky, aggressive behavior” that follows.
“Like following too closely, you want to avoid tailgating,” Roach said. “Any aggressive honking, like unnecessary honking.”
Roach said, don’t even take it there and avoid aggressive behavior.
Secondly, Roach wants you to stay off your phone, avoid distractions, and be aware of your surroundings.
“You want always to be watching all of the vehicles around you because as you’re monitoring traffic, as you would normally do when you drive anyway, you’re going to be able to see any aggressive drivers as they’re coming,” he said. “If you have an opportunity to disengage from road rage, from an aggressive driver before it escalates, you’re ahead of the game.”
Roach said the third step is very important.
“Control your emotions,” he said. “You do not want to allow an aggressive driver to pull you into that road rage incident.”
He said avoiding road rage is also about being prepared ahead of time so you aren’t running late and rushing on the road. Roach said that could mean anything from laying your clothes out at night to making your lunch the night before work.
His fourth step involves driving passively and with empathy and realizing “we’re all on the same team.”
“If the lane next to you is ending and the car is trying to get in front of you,” he said. “Instead of fighting for that one square inch, (say) ‘Hey teammate, we’re going to all have the same goal. You can pull ahead of me.’ Then that’s fine.”
Finally, Roach said if you have done all the previous steps and worked hard to avoid road rage and you still can’t disengage, call 911. He said police will need a description of the vehicle, the make and model of the car, the license plate number, the direction of travel, and the location. He said do not hesitate to flag down an officer or drive to a police station if you need to.
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