Traffic

Road rage incidents on the rise in North Carolina

Posted November 27, 2017 4:45 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 9:55 a.m. EDT

— Violent road rage incidents are becoming more common on North Carolina highways.

In the past three weeks, drivers in Raleigh have reported at least two frightening incidents involving guns, and experts said the statistics for the state are staggering.

Thomas Casey’s sedan bears the scars of road rage. Another driver became furious, screaming and gesturing, before ramming him off a Charlotte highway.

“It really scared me,” he said.

On Interstate 440 in Raleigh, a driver fired four shots into Alexus Thomas’ car earlier this month, striking her at least once.

Police suspected road rage in the incident involving Thomas, as well as in a drive-by shooting on U.S. Highway 264 on Wednesday.

In another incident in September, a woman who didn’t want to be identified, said a driver on I-440 pulled a gun on her while her son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old grandchild were in the car.

“First, he was pointing it in the car, then he was pointing it at my son, then he was pointing it at my grandson,” the woman said.

Since 2014, the number of road rage incidents has nearly tripled nationwide. Between 2011 and 2015, erratic, reckless and negligent driving in North Carolina caused 55,000 crashes, injuring 38,000 people and killing more than 1,400.

Eighty percent of drivers said they are aggressive behind the wheel, 51 percent say they’ve tailgated, 47 percent confess to yelling and 33 percent admit to making angry gestures. Fewer than 3 percent of drivers report showing or using a gun.

Most drivers included in the study believe aggressive driving is a bigger problem than it was three years ago and nine out of 10 believe aggressive drivers are a serious threat to their personal safety.

Experts say if a driver displays a gun during a road rage incident, call 911 immediately, avoid eye contact, try to maintain control of the vehicle and do not retaliate.