The Sheriff’s Office has investigated more than 200 traffic related incidents since April 1, including incidents involve speeding vehicles in neighborhoods. There are things you can do to help monitor traffic in your neighborhood, and as a driver, to help avoid road rage incidents.

The Sheriff’s Office keeps track of these incidents and will go to the area with our traffic enforcement resources. This can be patrol vehicles utilizing radar or a speed limit trailer to indicate your speed as you approach the trailer.

It is crucial that neighborhoods call in speeding vehicles when they occur so a deputy can respond if possible. It also helps us log that information for analysis.

Road rage behavior is unacceptable and causes many altercations and accidents because a driver gets upset over another person’s driving habits.

The definition of road rage is the uncontrolled anger of a motorist that is usually provoked by an act of another motorist and is expressed in aggressive or violent behavior. Examples of acts that can provoke that behavior are cutting someone off, not using a blinker, cruising in the passing lane, going too slow and not dimming your headlights. Some people get so upset that they feel they need to show their anger toward you or confront you.

If the vehicle in front of you is doing something that upsets you, it’s important that you not tailgate, use hand gestures, scream or get enraged. Instead, back off and call 911 if appropriate, or pull over to relax.

If you find someone is acting aggressively toward you, there are also things you can do.

Imagine yourself in this scenario:

You are driving your vehicle in a 50 mph zone on a Skagit County road when you suddenly notice a vehicle speeding up behind you and is nearly striking the rear end of your vehicle. As you continue on, the driver hand gestures out the window toward you and mouths unpleasant words. What do you do?

Some people get just as upset as the aggressive driver, and that incident turns into road rage, with both cars pulling over, both drivers getting out and having a heated exchange. Unfortunately, a fight can break out and even weapons can be used by either party.

It is best to avoid these kinds of situations. If a driver acts aggressively toward you, call 911 to report an emergency situation, which in the scenario above, would constitute that emergency. If you have a passenger in your vehicle, have that person make the call if practical. Be prepared to answer questions such as your current direction of travel and road location, description of the aggressive vehicle and description of the driver.

Recently, there was an incident where a vehicle got within inches of the vehicle in front of it and nearly struck the bumper. The two in the vehicle in front became afraid of what the other driver might do and they kept driving toward home hoping the person would just pass by, but instead the vehicle kept following and showing hand gestures. The driver in front decided to drive to an alternate location where they knew someone would be home and could help if needed.

These situations are not fun and really can be avoided by all of us when we drive our cars.

— Chad Clark is undersheriff of the Skagit County Sheriff’s Office. Send questions to askpatrolchief@gmail.com.

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