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How to avoid road rage incidents and keep them from escalating

Experts say road rage incidents usually start out as a minor argument that can quickly escalate into a tragedy, but it’s easy enough to avoid with a few simple rules.

KHON2 spoke with a driving instructor who says you just don’t know how others are going to react to the slightest things. He says take the high road and avoid any type of confrontation.

When asked what is the biggest mistake he always sees, instructor Lenard Wong said “people not using turn signals. That’s probably one thing that really ticks a lot of people off.”

It’s such a small thing, but he says it’s enough to get someone to react aggressively and lead to a violent incident that’s gone out of control.

Wong says it’s best to show some restraint and don’t even make eye contact with an angry driver.

“I would slow down, let them go by, whatever they want to do, or make a turn, change my route, let them go on. That’s what I would do,” Wong advised. “Don’t even react if someone is being aggressive with me. I’ll just sit there and wait and wait until it’s time for me to move.”

Wong adds that defensive driving skills can help avoid getting into a confrontation in the first place, because you’ll be prepared for what can happen.

“Always scanning ahead, look at what could possibly be a potential problem,” he advised. “When I drive, I’m looking two blocks down the road to see what the conditions are like.”

If you see potential dangers, like a car coming out of the driveway or somebody about to step out of their parked car, Wong adds you should already be prepared to stop or move to another lane if possible.

“Be alert. Maybe they might just pull out in front of you. Take the foot off the accelerator, cover the brakes in case they do pull out in front of you. You can stop in time,” he said.

If you find yourself already in a confrontation, Wong says the worst thing you can do is get out of the car.

“It’s going to get worse. It’s not going to get better,” Wong said. “You get out of the car to confront the person who’s irritated at you for whatever you did, stay in the car, keep the windows rolled up, get on the phone and dial 911 if you have to.”

City councilman Joey Manahan introduced a road rage bill last year that has stalled because of concerns from the Honolulu Police Department.

When we spoke to him Monday, he said he would talk to HPD again later this month on how to move the bill forward.

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