ABC7 News is committed to Building a Better Bay Area. As we focus on issues of safety, we want to help drivers know what to do in certain situations.
Traffic Anchor, Alexis Smith talked to California Highway Patrol Officer, John Fransen, for some expert advice.
1: What should you do if you find yourself in a situation with a road-raging driver?
"Really the best course of action is turn on your turn signal, merge over when it's safe, clear and legal to do so, and let the person pass you by. If they're driving so egregious that you feel it warrants a 9-1-1 call to CHP, we would advise you to make that 9-1-1 call and hopefully we can catch up to that person, pull them over and see what's going on and why they're driving so erratically or at such a high speed" said Fransen.
CHP also advises you don't brake-check or try to slow down the aggressive driver. Always deescalate the situation if possible.
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2: What should you do if your car breaks down, or you're in a minor collision in the middle of the highway?
"We would always recommend that if people are able to get off of the freeway, they do so, especially if it's a minor traffic collision or your vehicle starts having engine trouble or you feel like you have a flat tire, it's best to get off the freeway, off the highway and to a safe location. A lot of times it looks like the right shoulder's wide enough or the center median's wide enough, we still have traffic coming in at sixty five plus miles per hour, that's over ninety feet per second. We don't want a secondary traffic collision to occur where now we have a stopped vehicle that's getting hit by one of those fast moving vehicles," said Fransen.
If you aren't able to exit the freeway, CHP recommends figuring out where you feel safest. That may be staying in your vehicle or finding a location like a hillside, safely getting out of your vehicle, and climbing up the hillside to wait for help.
3: What can you do to avoid getting in a collision in the first place?
"The first thing is you want to make sure that people are not driving distracted. We want drivers to be vigilant when they're driving and their attention should be on the roadway. You're not going to be able to see if there's a dangerous situation or a hazard in the roadway or somebody changing lanes if you're looking down at your phone or whatever the other distraction is that's distracting you is. So we would just ask that people actually pay attention to the road. We also ask that people give themselves time to get to their destination. We don't want them to try and cheat to get to where they're going by travelling at a speed that's dangerous. We want people to maintain the speed limit and we also want people to abide by the rules of the road," said Fransen.
You can get more information about driver safety from CHP here.
See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.
What can you do to stay safe behind the wheel?
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