BEND, OR -- As Central Oregon continues to grow, there is more and more traffic on the roads.
Deschutes County Sheriff's Sergeant William Bailey says road rage incidents happen every day, and almost always, they're sparked by something minor. "Honestly, drivers make mistakes. I think everyone, throughout the day, can come up with an idea or a time of when they made a mistake driving. And that mistake, unfortunately, sometimes angers another driver, and it escalates to that point where someone is angry and they are behind the wheel of a motor vehicle and that type of behavior, it affects everyone on the road."
Bailey says just because another driver is angry with you, doesn't mean you need to respond in kind. "Avoid escalating the situation by retaliating with aggressive language or hand gestures, because that will only cause it to get worse." He also says the best thing to do is own your part. "It's always okay to apologize and say 'sorry.' A simple, polite wave and mouthing 'I'm sorry' to another driver, if you made a mistake, is a great way to try to diffuse the situation."
Other tips are to avoid anxiety by giving yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, keep distractions to a minimum, and pay extra attention to other drivers.
According to Bailey, road rage always takes two people, so the best thing to do is to keep from driving aggressively so you're not the instigator. "It is leaving a little bit early, give yourself some extra time so you aren't feeling the stress of arriving at a destination late. Understand other people make mistakes, and don't take it personally. If none of these things works, trying to diffuse the situation, we would encourage you to call 911. Let us come out and try to intervene. Particularly in a situation where a firearm is involved. We absolutely need to be involved in that to ensure public safety."
If you're being threatened, and a simple apology won't diffuse the situation, Bailey suggests pulling over into a well-lighted area where there are other people and waiting for law enforcement.