In Wake of Road Rage-Related Death, Officials Urge Safe Driving
EDINBURG – Two people are now charged with murder after a man was killed in Edinburg Monday after a road rage incident.
Some drivers CHANNEL 5 NEWS spoke with in the Rio Grande Valley Friday were shocked. Many said they expect deadly road rage incidents to be more common in bigger cities.
Law enforcement officials said road rage is something that happens every day. Preventing it starts with something as simple as keeping your eyes on the road.
Rio Hondo Police Chief William Bilokury said many incidents stem from distracted drivers not paying attention or making a mistake and causing somebody else to react.
“You see people flipping the bird and honking at other people,” explained Harlingen resident Richard Montemayor. “I don’t honk at people. It doesn’t bother me when someone makes a mistake on the road. We’re all human. We all make mistakes.”
Bilokury said that’s the right approach when it comes to dealing with the problem. He said road rage incidents can end in property damage, arrests or deadly accidents.
“There’s a lot of guns, there’s a lot of weapons out there,” he said.
Road rage is defined as a violent, criminal act involving an intention to cause physical harm. An AAA study found that in 2016, nearly 8 million drivers had gotten out of their car to confront another driver or even bumped or rammed another car on purpose.
Factor in a weapon and Bilokury said you’ll be paying thousands and thousands of dollars with court costs, attorneys, fines, and restitution. He said that’s not including jail time.
“You’re looking at high-end misdemeanors or felony charges depending on the totality of the circumstances,” he said.
The police chief said you can avoid it all together by not driving offensively. That means you should try to avoid cutting people off, driving slowly in the left lane, tail gaiting and gestures.
If a nearby driver does take offense, don’t engage them and give them lots of room and steer clear. He added you should avoid eye contact and if you need to and call for help.
He said you should o avoid leading the raging driver down a rural road where you will get stuck with them. Instead, go to a more populated area, preferably well lit.