After a Winnipeg man was left with life-threatening injuries due to a road range incident earlier this month, the Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) say it’s surprising how many calls they receive about enraged drivers.
Data provided by the WPS shows there were 306 reported cases of road rage in 2019, 241 in 2020 and 314 so far in 2021.
Const. Dani McKinnon says of the calls made this year, officers went to more than 50 per cent.
“The attendance can be speaking to both parties, perhaps issuing a warning, assessing the situation. If there’s Highway Traffic Act infractions sometimes a ticket can be issued, or in the most serious situations, criminal charges can be laid,” McKinnon said.
As hard as it can be, she adds, taking the high road and ignoring or apologizing during a road rage incident can help reduce the chances of a serious altercation, but McKinnon says people in a position where they feel unsafe are encouraged to call 911.
Psychologist Dr. Toby Rutner says to avoid dangerous situations as a whole, adding that it’s important to check your emotions before you enter your vehicle.
“We’re reacting not only to the current road situation, but a whole string of events that happened prior to that and it’s sort of the topping on the cake, and we tend to overreact,” Rutner says.
He says feelings of frustration or anxiety will only increase your chances of getting into a more severe confrontation, advising to be on the lookout for those emotions before you get into your car.
Rutner says listening to upbeat or intense music can also influence your emotion and suggests putting on relaxing tunes or an app meant to calm you down while driving.
However, if you’re feeling strongly emotionally, the psychologist recommends not getting behind the wheel.