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Deadly Road Rage and Boomers – a Growing Problem

I know it is hard to believe but our generation, the generation of free love and far-out friendliness has become one of the fastest growing demographics of road rage aggressors and victims. What happened to those laid-back, peace-loving, pass-the-joint people?

Compounding and many times triggering road rage is distracted driving or aggressive driving. More and more mid-lifers are not only using cell phones but they are talking, texting and instant messaging while driving!

boomer-road-rage

Just yesterday in the retirement community where I see clients, I saw a man, at least eighty-years-old nearly fall off of the curb because he was texting with his grandson about the World Cup Games and trying to walk at the same time.

In a Nationwide Insurance survey, 37% of boomers admitted to texting while driving and 35% admitted to some sort of multi-tasking while driving.

In 2012, 3328 people were killed in distracted driving crashes. [distraction.gov]

There are increasing numbers of recorded cases of road rage incidents committed by either men or women that are middle age, normally calm, successful people with no history of crime, violence or drug and alcohol abuse. They become so irritated by another driver’s distraction or rudeness that they are hell bent on ‘teaching the other driver a lesson.’

Have you ever:

  • Hit your brakes to teach a tailgater behind you a lesson?
  • Blocked the passing lane on a highway so a car cannot pass you?
  • Have you cursed, screamed at or given the finger to another driver? [This gesture has gotten people shot, stabbed or beaten to death in every single state.] [www.nhtsa.com]
  • Rudely honked your horn at another driver? [This behavior has resulted in a large number of honkers being shot or beaten.]
  • Tailgated a driver you felt was driving to slow?
  • Flashed your high beams at a driver that has their high beams on?

 

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are guilty of aggressive driving. That behavior puts you, your passengers and the other driver at risk of harm, even death. That other driver that you provoked could have Intermittent Explosive Disorder and some sort of weapon. That few minutes of anger could cost you your life.

To avoid becoming aggressive on the road:

  • Never drive while hurt, angry, tired or hungry.
  • Leave earlier than you need too. Always give yourself a time cushion in case of traffic, an accident or poor weather conditions.
  • Have water and some sort of snack in the car.
  • Have your favorite music or an audio book available.
  • Accept that you may be late, it happens, it is not the end of the world.
  • Always have something to clean your windows and your hands.
  • Place a photo of your family and or pets on your visor.
  • Keep a stress ball in the car.
  • Relax your muscles, breathe deeply.

To avoid becoming a victim of road rage:

  • If a driver is trying to pass you, let them. Being right is not worth dying.
  • Never make eye contact with an aggressive driver, it can be perceived as aggression.
  • Always use your turn signal.
  • Keep your high beams low.
  • Don’t block the road to talk to someone. [This behavior has caused dozens of shootings and beatings] [AAA]
  • If an aggressive driver is following you, do not drive to your home. Go to a police station or some other safe, well lit area.
  • Never, ever engage with an angry driver.  They are irrational and you are not the ass-hat driver whisperer.
  • Never give the finger or any other provoking gesture to another driver [Again, many people have died as a result of this behavior.]

I will never understand why we will stand, holding the door for four or five people at a convenience store, smiling and then get in our cars and fight to the death, to be first and only one there when it comes to merging in traffic.

Please choose to live, be forgiving on the road.

 Road Rage has affected my family in the worst way possible. My younger brother, musician David Albert was beaten to death by a group of men who became irate because he stopped at every stop sign. They felt he was driving too slowly. David was driving the speed limit. He was twenty-six and had a beautiful wife and a thirteen-month-old son.

I felt compelled to tell the story in my first book Bristol boyz Stomp.

Doreen McGettigan

When Doreen’s brother was murdered, she was shattered. She dove head first into working; writing and learning. Anything to keep herself from feeling or dealing with her loss and the complete unraveling of her family. Doreen was fortunate enough to come in contact with some very special people at the Network of Victim Assistance. She joined a Homicide Survivors Group and then became active in the state of Pennsylvania’s largest and most comprehensive victim service organization, NOVA, as an advocate, board member and speaker. She has become a voice for those affected by violence and bullying. She has also become a champion for the elderly; who sometimes have trouble admitting they have been victimized. Doreen has written for several Philadelphia area newspapers. She is now a respected freelance journalist, content writer, ghostwriter and author. She works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly, most of whom are hospice patients. She is an active member of and also sits on the board of The Press Club, is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Nonfiction Authors Association, LB Creative Writers, Hot Pens, BC Speaker’s Bureau, and a workshop facilitator. She also owns a marketing company. The author lives in Delaware County, Pa. just south of Philadelphia with her husband John and two little dogs. Doreen and John have 5 grown children (2 more in heaven) and 13 grand children (their own little cult). Their lives are not boring.Instagram: doreenmcgettigan

Doreen McGettigan

When Doreen’s brother was murdered, she was shattered. She dove head first into working; writing and learning. Anything to keep herself from feeling or dealing with her loss and the complete unraveling of her family. Doreen was fortunate enough to come in contact with some very special people at the Network of Victim Assistance. She joined a Homicide Survivors Group and then became active in the state of Pennsylvania’s largest and most comprehensive victim service organization, NOVA, as an advocate, board member and speaker. She has become a voice for those affected by violence and bullying. She has also become a champion for the elderly; who sometimes have trouble admitting they have been victimized. Doreen has written for several Philadelphia area newspapers. She is now a respected freelance journalist, content writer, ghostwriter and author. She works part-time as a caregiver for the elderly, most of whom are hospice patients. She is an active member of and also sits on the board of The Press Club, is a member of the Military Writers Society of America, the Nonfiction Authors Association, LB Creative Writers, Hot Pens, BC Speaker’s Bureau, and a workshop facilitator. She also owns a marketing company. The author lives in Delaware County, Pa. just south of Philadelphia with her husband John and two little dogs. Doreen and John have 5 grown children (2 more in heaven) and 13 grand children (their own little cult). Their lives are not boring.Instagram: doreenmcgettigan

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Mrs4444

Friday 25th of July 2014

I've experienced roadrage first-hand a few times; it's not worth flipping someone off! I disagree that flashing high beams is aggressive; to me, it's politely letting the person know they're about to blind you (I do it from a distance, not when they're just approaching me.

My boss (a principal and my neighbor) texts and drives; it's upsetting, and I can't confront him (for obvious reasons), but we're friends on FB, so I sometimes post PSAs to remind him. It would not be a good legacy for one's family to have killed someone over a stupid text. I like AT&T's slogan, It Can Wait.

Risa

Monday 21st of July 2014

A timely reminder to focus on staying safe and doing the things that we can control when we're behind the wheel. People need these reminders, especially the message about texting and driving. I'm so sorry about the tragic loss to your family.

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 21st of July 2014

Thank you so much Risa.

Tammy

Sunday 20th of July 2014

Doreen, so so sorry about your brother. I tell my husband anytime he does something like driving too close or responding to another aggressive driver that you just never know what someone else is capable of or if they may have a gun. Meanwhile, I too have been guilty of a few of these so thank you for the reminder to chill.

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 21st of July 2014

That is so true, you just never know so it is not worth confronting anyone, ever!

Kim Tackett

Thursday 17th of July 2014

The message, so clearly, is "you can choose to forgive, everywhere you go." Thanks for writing this Doreen.

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 21st of July 2014

Kim that is so true. Forgive and live.

WendysHat

Thursday 17th of July 2014

Scary thoughts! You can't just go out and drive free anymore you must be so defensive because people are so distracted. Great tips!

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 21st of July 2014

You are so right. Distraction is so dangerous.

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