Experts: Drivers should keep their temper in check or risk jail time

Driving safety experts say to keep your temper in check

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Driving safety experts have a warning for everyone on the roads - keep your temper in check.

Road rage is a growing problem in our area. Within the past two weeks, there have been at least two cases where irritated drivers resorted to gun violence. That has safety experts sounding off.

"There are a lot of bad drivers out there,” Richard Jacobs of Drive Smart said.

We see them every day. But it's not every day someone decides to retaliate by pulling a gun.

That’s what authorities say 31-year-old Chazz Gordon did. He is charged with malicious wounding and shooting into an occupied vehicle. Two passengers are facing charges too after a tractor-trailer driver was shot on the highway. The semi driver said he didn’t yield to Gordon’s car because he had the right of way. That was Thursday on Chippenham Parkway.

Just two weeks earlier - a driver shot up a car on Hull Street Road following an act of road rage. The woman whose car was riddled with bullets pulled into a WaWa and called for help.

"You don’t know who you’re dealing with,” Jacobs added.

He’s advocating for safety following these recent events.

"Someone can cut you off because they don’t check their blind spot [or] they’re not using their turn signal. They may just be a lousy driver,” he explains.

When it happens, he encourages you to keep your cool, especially if you're the one another driver seems to be provoking.

"Don’t make eye contact, don’t gesture, don’t honk. Don’t do anything to escalate the situation and chances are they will get bored with it and move on,” he added.

But if not, he wants you to keep this in mind.

"If they’re dangerously reckless or dangerously aggressive, you want to get off the road, pull into a safe place and call the police,” he said.

It’s better to avoid the confrontation so you don’t end up a victim of a crime or the person committing it.

“At the end of the day, you’ll feel much better about yourself if you remember that you didn’t let someone bait you into a situation of aggressive driving or road rage,” said Jacobs,

Aggressive driving is a misdemeanor but when that charge is combined with the intent to injure someone, the penalty is heightened to a $2,500 fine and/or a year in jail. More serious charges can stem from road rage, including malicious wounding or even murder.

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