A Georgia superior court judge sentenced two young men to two decades behind bars after they were convicted for shooting up the home of a person whom they engaged in a road rage incident. The judge sentenced the two men on May 15 for the shooting that occurred in March of 2016 in Kennesaw. This episode proves that drivers, no matter how frustrated or upset, should try to avoid engaging other drivers because you never know what is going to happen.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the shooting victim found himself behind the two convicted men at a traffic light in Kennesaw. The two shooters were the first in line at the traffic light and failed to drive when the light changed from red to green. The victim was the first car behind them and began sounding his car’s horn to signal the two men to drive. The victim stated that other drivers held captive by the men’s inattention to the traffic laws also sounded their horns. Eventually, traffic began to move. The victim pulled alongside the two men, and according to the victim, he drove away without further regard to the incident.

The victim’s perception of the incident changed when he realized the two men followed him home. The two men fired a handgun at the man, who had also retrieved his firearm. The two sped off. No one was injured, and there were no reports of property damage after the single shot was fired.

The victim told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he and his wife began to get over the incident after two days when the men returned. This time they fired nine shots into the man’s home. The shots broke windows and damaged doors. Once again the man retrieved his firearm, but a neighbor witnessed the shocking event and contacted police before more shots were exchanged. Fortunately, no one suffered any injuries in the second incident.

At trial, the defense team blamed the victim for provoking the two men by getting his firearm. From a public safety point of view, the defense’s argument should give drivers pause when encountering driving behavior that is rude, aggressive, or dangerous. There can be no debate that the two men should never have followed the man to his home, let alone fire a gun at him. Their actions are beyond the pale and deserve to be punished severely. However, this incident clearly demonstrates why drivers should avoid engaging other drivers: you never know what could happen.

It is tempting to respond to other driver’s failures on the road, especially when the maneuver places you in jeopardy of being injured. Many drivers experience a strong desire to immediately and forcefully respond to the other driver’s inconsiderate driving. Despite the urge to engage, drivers should de-escalate the situation. According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), drivers should always:

• Avoid making rude gestures to other drivers,
• Sound their car horn in an aggressive manner,
• Tailgating or following too closely and leave a two-second interval between vehicles,
• Use directional signals,
• Make a friendly gesture to apologize for making a mistake, and
• Try to place yourself in the other driver’s situation because the mistake could be an honest human error rather than rude or dangerous driving habits that must be immediately corrected.

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