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Safe Roads Now: Driving experts discuss impact, dangers of road rage

Posted at 8:17 AM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 09:17:27-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — At some point, everyone has likely gotten a bit irritated behind the wheel, but most keep that frustration in check not allowing things to turn violent.

A recent road rage incident caught on cell phone video last year was just once of several that occurred in Omaha.

You might remember the alleged road rage incident that took an Omaha man's life neat 60th and L last year.

"The life-changing outcome in that particular situation, it's just not worth it," Nebraska State Patrol Lieutenant Matt Sutter said.

Sutter says NSP receives calls every week about unsafe driving on Nebraska Highways and Roads.

"We see everything from drivers cutting drivers off, we see obscene hand gestures," Sutter said. We've seen people run off the road, we've also seen people that have ran into other people just because they're angry."

But where does the anger come from?

"What I see most of the time is people have had anger problems in other areas of their lives, not just when they get behind the wheel of a car," Mental Health Counselor Elizabeth Boyer said. There's something else going on there too."

Boyer has a unique perspective about what drivers might feel during an episode.

"99.9% of the time there's a feeling that comes before the anger, whether it's embarrassment, fear, jealousy, or disrespect," Boyer said. Something comes before the anger itself."

She tells us drivers can feel weak for wanting to express those feelings, and that is what usually causes people to try and cover up their feelings with anger.

"What we need to learn to do is instead of not wanting to express these feelings because they're considered weak, we cover it up with anger because we think we can control the situation," she said.

Boyer says she wants people to understand the road rage incidents shouldn't be taken personally.

"If we change our thinking and we look at driving as not, this is someone hurting me, somebody wanting to hurt me ... this is someone that's either distracted or someone that's had a bad day, I need to learn to just let some of those things go," Boyer said.

Lt. Sutter says road rage charges vary, but can include disturbing the peace, misdemeanor assault and even felony assault, depending on the situation.

"These things have a way of escalating and getting out of control quickly and it's just not worth it for your safety, your safety should be your primary focus when you're driving," Sutter said.


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