BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Road rage rages out of control as drivers right here in Maryland find themselves caught up in dangerous and even deadly situations.
Vic Carter has more.
When a stranger behind the wheel begins to attack, the terror is real. One man tells WJZ about his terrifying story driving through Anne Arundel County.
In January, a man was murdered after he was run off Interstate 81 just over the Maryland line. That killer was never found.
Last year in Anne Arundel County, a terrified New Jersey man—driving with his wife and three young children, used deadly force to stop another driver.
“When I went to turn onto this road leading to the interstate, I made the left and next thing I know, I’ve got this car up alongside me, just yelling at us,” said Joseph Walker, a victim of road rage.
Walker described for WJZ those terrifying moments on Route 175 in Odenton.
Another driver forced Walker’s minivan off the road. When he got out to check his tires, Walker’s family hid as two men got out of the other car and headed straight for them.
“As they started to get a little too close and ignoring what I was saying and when I could hear what they were saying—`[expletive] you, you’re dead.’ That’s when I drew my weapon and I asked them again, `Please just go,'” Walker said. “At a certain point, I was in fear for me; I was in fear for my family. I had to.”
Deadly confrontations between strangers on the road are happening at an alarming rate. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported more than 200 people were murdered over a seven-year period. Nearly 13,000 were hurt. Another frightening statistic: two percent of drivers actually admit to trying to run someone off the road!
“We still have people who drive aggressively; we still have people that are upset and display road rage when they’re on the roadway,” said Maryland State Police Sgt. Marc Black.
But what triggers road rage?
Baltimore County psychologist Dr. Jack Vaeth says it’s a product of our society.
“The number one complaint of the 1990s by road rage people was `I was being tailgated! He was on my back!’ The number one complaint now is nothing about tailgating. `She was on the cell phone!’ `She was impeding my progress!’ So we, as a society, have changed. More cars, more congestion, more anger, busier schedules, adding cell phones and texting,” Vaeth said.
“You have to realize what your priorities are. Does it really benefit you to want to jump out on somebody because they cut you off, pull up alongside someone because they’re driving too slow? And I think people have to ask themselves before they take those actions—what do I have to lose by taking this action?” Walker said.
Walker is a detective in New Jersey. In July, he was tried on first degree murder charges in the death of Joseph Harvey and was acquitted of all the charges.
Walker still faces a civil suit filed by the victim’s family.
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