The state recently launched the “Don’t Be That Guy” campaign, urging drivers not to use their phones in traffic or when stopped at a light because it’s irritating, can cause delays and is dangerous.
But with the frequency of road rage incidents lately, MassDOT should consider urging drivers to stay in their cars when they get angry.
As AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs Mary Maguire said this week, “Our mantra is to avoid road rage, don’t engage.”
Maguire commented in response to court coverage by reporter Julie Manganis on a road rage dispute between two women on Route 128 last month that was caught on video.
One of the women made a court appearance this week, pleading not guilty to assault and battery and disorderly conduct; the second woman pleaded not guilty last week to more serious charges, including a felony, assault and battery on a person 60 or older, as well as driving recklessly to endanger, disorderly conduct and stopping on a highway.
Maguire said a national study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2016 found more road rage incidents across the country in recent years, with 80 percent of drivers saying they expressed “significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel” at least once during the year leading up to the survey.
Maguire said AAA urges people to keep their cool and avoid engaging with another driver who is angry.
“If someone is driving aggressively and targeting you, don’t make eye contact, don’t engage them. Never get out of your vehicle,” she said. Get out of their way and call 911 if you think they’re posing a danger.
But before it even reaches that point, she urges drivers to avoid the kind of behavior that can anger other drivers. Don’t tailgate. Don’t yell at people. Don’t make rude gestures, honk or try to block another driver from changing lanes. If you’re rude or aggressive, it’s very possible your behavior could escalate a tense situation into something worse.
So “Don’t Be That Guy” or woman. If another driver is being obnoxious or aggressive, slow down, stay in your car and chill out.