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Billings police give tips on avoiding road rage

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-23 20:00:57-04

Road rage is a problem in Billings, and police say they respond to it daily.

Nationwide, violent encounters are on the rise and what happened on Fourth Avenue North in Billings on Saturday is rare, where an argument escalated, and a man lost his life.

Fortunately, in Billings, violent road rage incidents do not happen often.

"Rarely do we see where they're getting out of their cars and they're getting into physical altercation," said Lt. Matt Lennick of the Billings Police Department. "That does not happen that frequently. It does happen but not that frequently."

But Lennick says the police receive calls every day about road rage, a couple each shift.

He talked about how to stay out of those situations.

"Number one is if something happens that you're disgruntled with, to start, don't engage with the other driver," Lennick said. "Don't flip them off. Don't follow people. Don't get upset over somebody's driving behavior."

He says if someone approaches your car, stay in your vehicle, get a description of the vehicle, leave the area and head toward the police station. He says dispatchers can give instructions on how to get help from an officer.

"They'll try to direct you towards a direction where there is an officer waiting or that they can intercept," Lennick said about dispatchers. "And then they can deal with whatever the disturbance is or whatever the traffic complaint was, and help resolve the situation."

Nationally deadly road rage shootings hit a record high in 2021, with 131 people killed.

And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving fatalities that could easily be avoided.

"A lot of times it's a misunderstanding or somebody did something that was perceived the wrong way," Lennick said. "And there's no real communication when you're driving so you don't know what the other person was intending to do."