Cabaero: Avoiding road rage

Nini B. Cabaero

THE road rage incident that left a nurse shot and wounded has been turned by some people into a rich-versus-poor situation, with outrage aired over how the wealthy could get away with crime.

That shouldn’t be the case though because not all wealthy people can be generalized into irresponsible persons who can escape the consequences of their acts. There are those who make excuses, manipulate others, and tell lies just so they would not be imprisoned or so they would be spared of paying the price for hurting others. But that is not how the case is developing. And rich people of Cebu are not banding together to consolidate forces.

Comments on social networks about the incident when David Lim Jr. shot and wounded Ephraim Nuñal, 33, a nurse, over a traffic altercation pointed to how the suspect belonged to a prominent family with possible political influence. Some used humor to comment on the incident while others were genuinely furious that a rich man can again get away with committing a crime.

The incident does not have to result in more violence or the dangerous thinking of pitting the poor against the rich and vice versa. What should be encouraged is discipline on the road and other measures to prevent a similar incident.

The website DefensiveDriving.Org prepared a list of ways to escape aggressive driving. It said road rage is an epidemic that can affect every driver on the road and can lead to death or injury. “While aggressive drivers are everywhere, the most dangerous road rage incidents happen when two or more drivers have aggressive responses to each other. Getting cut off in traffic can quickly escalate to further aggression if you choose to honk or gesture at another driver,” it said in the article titled “Avoiding road rage: 12 ways you can escape aggressive driving.”

Tips to stay safe even with aggressive drivers on the road include: Don’t make rude gestures or yell at other drivers because you’re not the police and it’s not your job to remind others how to drive. Avoid making eye contact with an aggressive driver who is trying to pick a fight. Use your horn sparingly and primarily only in emergency situations. Tap your horn lightly if you need to get a driver’s attention. In the road rage incident, Nuñal reportedly honked at Lim for blocking the road. Lim resented this, and that started the fight.

Apologize if you’ve done something wrong. If you’ve accidentally cut off another driver, braked too fast, or made some other mistake that could be offensive, simply smile and wave as an apology. This will disarm and calm most drivers. Don’t drive under distress, when you’re angry, upset, or overtired.

Give other drivers the benefit of the doubt. Many mistakes are unintentional and not meant as a personal offense. Consider whether responding aggressively is worth being injured or killed. If you are attacked, call 911 or drive to the nearest police station or public place with witnesses. Do not drive home.

The incident Sunday morning was unfortunate. It should be addressed not by driving a wedge between two groups but by teaching road discipline.