Road Rage in Sacramento

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The road rage just won’t quit. The other day, we brought you the story of a German truck driver who shot at some 700 (!) cars over a five year (!!) span before being caught. And now, from California’s capital comes another story of a gun-toting driver taking shots at another roadway user.

Apparently a minivan driver in Sacramento cut off a cyclist, then got into a verbal argument with him, made a U-turn to chase him down, and then shot a gun at him . The cyclist is okay, and the police are looking for the driver. This incident obviously forces us to ask some pretty big questions.

  1. Why did the minivan driver cut the cyclist off?
  2. Did the driver not understand that even a very slow cyclist goes around 10 miles an hour, and thus would have been out of the driver’s way in less than 15 seconds?
  3. Was the minivan driver in a hurry? (Actually, we know the driver was not in a hurry, because they had time to turn around and chase the cyclist down and attempt to murder them with a firearm.)
  4. Why did the minivan driver escalate a verbal confrontation* into an assault with a deadly weapon?

We may never know the answer to Questions 1 and 2. But the answer to Question 4 is pretty obvious: road rage. Remember: it’s never okay to threaten another roadway user. It’s not even okay to yell at another roadway user–though that can be tough, sometimes.

We can’t say it enough: whether or not you’re packing heat, every vehicle is a deadly weapon , and that means that every driver has to take responsibility for themselves, their emotions, and their actions. Keep a cool head. Don’t give in to road rage. If somebody cuts you off, stay safe. And if you’ve got a gun in your vehicle…well, that’s not really a matter for me as a drivers ed professional to address. But speaking as one human being to another, don’t shoot your gun at anybody or anything when you’re behind the wheel, okay?

Adult drivers (the kind of people who tend to have guns and minivans) can benefit from a refresher course that reminds them to share the road responsibly and safely. We’re all out there on the road together. Road rage and aggressive driving lead only to more violence, more injuries, and, inevitably, more deaths. Don’t let a momentary inconvenience or somebody’s rude behavior turn into a news story like this.

*Note: If you want to argue that cyclists should not start verbal confrontations with drivers, that is a fine position to take. We can begin enforcing this position just as soon as drivers stop using their horns inappropriately to harass and bully other roadway users. From the California Driver Handbook:
Use Your Horn

  • Only when necessary, to avoid collisions.

Do Not Use Your Horn

  • If a driver or bicyclist is going slowly, and you want him or her to drive faster or get out of your way.
  • To alert other drivers that they made a mistake.
  • Because you may be angry or upset.
  • To honk at pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists unless necessary to avoid a collision.