Road Rage Is on the Rise in Memphis, Tennessee
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Over the first nine months of 2021, Memphis, Tennessee has already seen more incidents of road rage than in all of 2020. Last year, there were 83 interstate shootings in total, while so far this year, the police have reported 89—and there are still three months left before the end of the year.
These numbers represent a worrying decline in road safety in the city.
Road rage-related shootings in Memphis, Tennessee on the rise
According to the Memphis police, road rage-related shootings have been on the rise over the last few months. Most recently, in mid-September, there were multiple interstate shootings in a single day. Both of these occurred on the I-240 and in total, three victims were hospitalized, and one man was arrested, according to Fox 13.
Earlier this summer, on July 13, 19-year-old Jason Cao was arrested after shooting at another driver on the I-40. Cao was ultimately charged with attempted first-degree murder, employment of a firearm with intent to commit a felony, and aggravated assault, according to Channel 3 News.
Cao was driving at a high speed in a Lexus, according to the other driver, who followed after Cao to gather his identification information to give to the police. In the end, Cao admitted to the offence, chalking it up to road rage.
Slowing down to reduce Tennessee road rage
In response to this uptick in road rage, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced the launch of the "Slow Down Memphis" campaign on Aug. 5. In a statement, Lt. Gracie Hatchett explained that the police force would, "focus on different areas different weeks, so you won’t see us in one area all the time."
Hatchett stressed that if you find yourself witnessing a road rage incident, you should put space between yourself and the other driver as quickly and safely as possible, and then call the police. "It’s very important…we don’t want citizens engaging in these types of incidents because we don’t want them to put themselves in a situation where it could cause bodily harm,'' she said.
The effect of road rage on car insurance
According to the Insurance Information Institute, not only can road rage be dangerous, it can also be expensive. Many auto insurers don’t cover damage incurred due to road rage because it is not considered accidental, but rather the outcome of risky behavior. The Insurance Information Institute goes on to offer several tips for drivers hoping to avoid being the victim—or the cause—of road rage.
While road rage can be random and unpredictable, there are ways you can mitigate the risks when you encounter it. The most important thing to do is prioritize your own safety, which means that you should never confront or engage with the offender. While it may be tempting to respond aggressively, this will only exacerbate the situation.
Other tips include putting as much distance between yourself and the aggressive driver as possible. You can do this by changing lanes or even driving away. Maintaining distance will be key to staying safe and preventing the possibility of damage to your vehicle.
Moreover, it’s a good idea to take note of the offending car’s license plate number, color, and make. This may be challenging while on the road, but this information can helpfully enable the police to identify the driver and punish them accordingly.
How to avoid being the cause of road rage
If you’re someone who struggles with road rage, it’s especially important to be cognizant of its risks, especially given that most car insurance companies may not cover damages caused by road rage. Luckily, however, there are things you can do to decrease your chances of becoming overly aggressive on the road.
First, be sure to always leave early to get where you need to go. If you have plenty of time, you’re less likely to become inpatient in traffic, and won’t make the same rage-induced bad choices. Similarly, abstain from the temptation to tailgate drivers who are slower than you. If the slower car stops quickly, you’ll be too close to brake in time, and could cause serious damage.
Moreover, try to avoid aggressive behaviors, such as honking repeatedly, yelling, or gesturing obscenely at other drivers. It’s important to remember that others on the road are not purposely trying to annoy you—and in fact, they’re probably just as frustrated as you are. Finally, be sure to never confront another driver, no matter how annoyed you get, as this could lead to a potentially dangerous confrontation.
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