SHOCKING STATS: Details released on a recently conducted survey shows that American road users are quite prone to road rage. Image: iStock
Little Rock, Ark. — No one wants to read horrible stories like this, especially during the holidays, but road rage is very real problem not only in South Africa, but all over the world.
A 3-year-old boy being taken on a shopping trip by his grandmother was killed in a road rage shooting when a driver opened fire on the grandmother's car because he thought she "wasn't moving fast enough at a stop sign," police said.
The boy and his grandmother were at the stop sign in southwest Little Rock on Saturday evening (Dec 17) when a driver apparently angry about the delay stepped out of his car and opened fire, police said. The boy was struck by gunfire at least once, they said.
The grandmother, who wasn't struck, drove away and called police from a shopping center.
Follow some tips on how to deal with road rage further down this article.
Police arrived at the shopping center and found the boy in the car outside a JCPenney department store. The boy was taken to a hospital, where he died shortly after, becoming the second young child shot dead in a road rage incident in the city in the last few weeks.
READ: Road rage in SA: Are you a potential 'IED'?
Police Lt. Steve McClanahan said investigators believe the boy and his grandmother "were completely innocent" and have no relationship with Saturday's shooter, who was being sought. He said the grandmother simply was "driving the car and was taking her grandson shopping when the incident occurred."
Police said they were looking for an older black Chevrolet Impala. Police did not release a detailed description of the man who was driving it.
In November, a 2-year-old girl was killed when a car drove by and someone fired into her vehicle; the shooter in that case hasn't been captured.
Police Chief Kenton Buckner said the road rage killings were frustrating for the police department and the community, especially because the young victims were "very innocent" and "can do very little to protect themselves."
"We cannot have a community to where the least protected among us, being infants, who are dying (in) these senseless crimes in our city," Buckner said.
He said he didn't know if the children's shootings were related.
READ: 11 tips to help you survive road rage
Isabel Clarke, a clinical psychologist who specialises in anger management, offers the following advice for dealing with anger:
1 Recognise your anger signs - If you notice signs that you're breathing quicker or that your heart is beating faster, get out of the situation if you have a history of losing control.
2 Count to ten - Counting to ten helps you to cool down, think more clearly and overcome the impulse to lash out.
3 Breathe slowly - You automatically breathe in more than out when you’re feeling angry. The trick is to breathe out more than in in order to calm down and think clearly.
4 Exercise – It helps to get rid of anger and irritation.
5 Look after yourself - Make time to relax regularly, and ensure that you get enough sleep. Drugs and alcohol can make anger problems worse.
6 Get creative - Writing, making music, dancing, painting and other creative outlets can release tension and help reduce feelings of anger.
7 Talk about how you feel - Discussing your feelings with a friend can be useful, and can help you get a different perspective on the situation.
8 Look at the way you think - Thoughts such as “It’s not fair,” or “People like that shouldn’t be on the roads” can make anger worse because it keeps you focused on whatever it is that’s making you angry. Let these thoughts go and it will be easier to calm down.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU'RE A VICTIM
If you feel that you are being targeted by an aggressive driver on the road:
9 Ignore verbal abuse and rude gestures. Do not engage the aggressor.
10 Keep your doors locked and your windows up.
11 If you are being followed, head to the nearest police station or any other public place that you can receive help.