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Your Safety / Part 1: Meet the Road Gods!

28 Mar 2012

The aggressive driving problem has only gotten worse on our public roads, making road cycling more dangerous! Already, state and local governments are stepping up law enforcement to combat this menacing problem.

Part 1 in a series:

"If only I had a panel where I could fire a missile... I would take 'em out!" said a member of clergy. Sounds like real fighting words, doesn't it? But then, it's the sheer frustration that leads to road rage, especially against aggressive drivers who operate pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles... No turn signals, no safe following, no speed limits... Just "get out of my way". They have given the truck a bad name and made it bad for those drivers who drive responsibly. Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Road Gods. Your mission: Pay the taxes on time, get out of the way, and don't protest! The Road Gods rule! Even though we all pay taxes to have a right to drive on public roads, the Road Gods own it!

This area has its share of flashy, shiny new trucks pushing the envelope on its infrastructure. It is quite common for people who drive cars to see their rear view mirrors filled out with the grillworks of a truck. Police officers have advised "Do not retaliate—do not protest; otherwise, you may encounter some lead." An officer who works patrol duty at Community Bible Church cautioned that "you will be surprised at the number of drivers who pack heat (guns)."

Trucks are only a part of the problem. While motorists can get rather aggravated having to dodge the heavy metal of weaponry, they also have to deal with aggressive drivers in cars. Overall, it's the concrete version of a dog fight where a motor vehicle can be used as a weapon. Numerous articles have been published on road rage in various national magazines and newspapers. The major broadcasters have aired pieces on road rage. Without a doubt, it is a growing problem especially where traffic is congested and people are under a great deal of stress. It had been noted that the workplace had contributed to the problem as jobs become more competitive, thus adding to the stress level. Overall, Americans are basically an "individualistic" society that deters from a cooperative effort, which is much needed nowadays to deal with traffic issues (as well as with other social issues). It's the same old song: Every individual is looking out for "Number One."

Cops in various cities are bearing down on aggressive drivers. But then, there is a political side to this story. A ticket issued for following too closely, popularly known as "tailgating," do not hold up in most courts. A Houston attorney explained that in order to get a tailgating charge to stick in the courts, the other driver who was victimized must appear in court too. And, that's too much trouble for most people. They just "shut up and put up" and deal with the grillworks imaging their mirrors.

Not only did the courts go as far as giving the Road Gods tailgating leverage, some states have handed down decisions regarding rearend accidents. In Texas, if one were rearended, it used to be almost a slam dunk to win a case against the other driver. Not anymore. In fact, if you were tailgated and you do the slightest change in your driving habits and caused an accident, the negligence could go back on you. Some motorists have been known to slam on their brakes to retaliate against a tailgater. Should they do that in Texas and cause an accident, they may be held liable. Over and over, police officers have cautioned: "Do not retaliate." We mentioned earlier that you could invite a spray of lead; here, you could draw a lawsuit. In some cases, you could get arrested.

It's no doubt, aggressive drivers are a growing concern. Please take a few moments and write your legislators. The time is now to tackle this issue. Remember, it's your safety and your pocketbook at stake!

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