Uptick in road rage across King County fuels spate of recent freeway shootings

Apr 7, 2022, 1:47 PM | Updated: 1:54 pm
(Credit Ewan Munro via Flickr)
(Credit Ewan Munro via Flickr)

King County has already experienced 20 freeway shootings so far this year, according to State Trooper Rick Johnson, and road rage may very well be the culprit.

Road rage is the cause of approximately 30 murders every year, with 8 in 10 Americans experiencing road rage behavior at least once a year.

“Nationally, we are seeing a rise in freeway shootings — it’s alarming,” Johnson said.

It’s a common scenario: you’re driving on the freeway and accidentally cut someone off. You wave at them and mouth “sorry!” and then you go about your merry way. But sometimes apologizing isn’t enough. Before you know it, the other driver speeds up, cuts other people off, and dangerously drives next to you, screaming expletives and giving choice hand gestures.

Could Seattle’s Vision Zero use more focus?

Chances are, if you drive in Seattle and its surrounding area, you will experience a road rage scenario — but do you know how to safely defuse the situation?

“First of all, drive with as much courtesy as possible,” Trooper Johnson advised. “Road rage begins when we cut someone off. Give a wave and remember to always use your signal because you don’t know what the other driver is capable of.”

But what if the other driver starts to follow you?

“Take an exit and get off the freeway, and if you see them wave a gun, call 911 and do your best to carefully and calmly get to a safer location,” Johnson said.

More people are starting to use dashcams, so “please don’t try and take pictures of the other vehicle,” he added.

“It can lead to other drivers becoming angrier or cause an accident. [Dashcams] come in handy. Dashcam videos are sent in now when they aren’t solicited. This is very helpful for us.”

The reason for the uptick in road rage?

“For the last two years, people had to travel with no restrictions during the lock down,” he explained. “Traffic was very light, and now that traffic is back to almost pre-pandemic patterns, drivers are upset.”

And just a friendly reminder…

“Take a deep breath, and just let whatever is bothering you go,” Johnson said.

Have you ever experienced road rage or been the victim of a road rage scenario? Send us your story at mgamez@bonneville.com

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Uptick in road rage across King County fuels spate of recent freeway shootings