DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Along with the number of fatal accidents, road rage incidents also went up in Ohio last year.
“Everything after 2020, with the COVID and the driving, we get a lot more reckless OP calls and we see lot more aggressive driving now than what we did two years ago,” Sergeant Chris Colbert with the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) explained.
According to data from OSHP, there were 297 more road rage incidents in 2021 compared to 2020. In 2022 so far, there have been 944 reported incidents with 63 of those in Montgomery County.
Sgt. Colbert said part of this increase could be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic when less people were traveling.
“There were less vehicles on the roadway, people got in a habit of driving however they drive and now that we’ve gotten back to normal, people still want to do that. And it’s caused some problems,” Sgt. Colbert said.
Sometimes those incidents can lead to more physical interactions between drivers.
“We’ve had shootings on the interstate here in Montgomery County over the last couple of years, we’ve had vehicles shot up, we’ve had people in fist fights on the side of the road. Where does that end well?” Sgt. Colbert said.
So what should you do if you find yourself in the middle of a road rage confrontation? Pat Brown, AAA driving school supervisor for the Miami Valley, said the best thing is to stay in your car.
“The last thing you want to do is don’t stop and get out of the car. That’s one of the worst things you can do. Don’t confront people. You don’t know what they have in the car, there could be a bat, a gun. They maybe want to get into a physical altercation. Don’t stop and get out,” Brown explained.
Brown also reminded drivers to be mindful of others on the road to help cut down on these incidents.
“The everyday things you can do as a person driving on the roadway is don’t block the passing lane or don’t block the outside lane where people can’t get by. If you’re going to change lanes, use your signals to let people know what you’re doing. Be courteous, try to be courteous to others even when they’re not courteous to you, and just try to drive and be a good driver with other people. You got to keep in mind what we do affects other people and what they do affects us, and we want to make sure we affect those other people in a good way,” Brown said.
If you do see someone driving aggressively, Sgt. Colbert said do not be afraid to report them.
“License plate, vehicle description and time of day, where you’re at. Those are things that can help us. If we don’t get them today, then we can possibly put somebody in the area to look for them tomorrow,” Sgt. Colbert said.