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Road Rage Part Ii: Aggressive Driving and Guns Deadly Combination


In yet another example of a traffic situation escalating out of control and resulting in tragedy, former New Orleans Saints player Will Smith was killed late Saturday night after he and another driver were involved in at least one and possibly two rear-end collisions. According to police, Smith and his wife were driving in their Mercedes SUV when they were rear-ended by Cardell Hayes in his Hummer. Recent video has emerged which shows that Hayes was rear-ended by what appears to be Smith's Mercedes shortly before. When Smith and Hayes confronted each other, witnesses report that both men threatened use of their weapons (a gun was found in Smith's SUV). Smith and Hayes had a heated exchange of words. Hayes then produced a handgun and shot Smith multiple times in the back and torso, and shot Smith's wife in the leg twice. Smith died at the scene; his wife was transported to a nearby hospital.

Hayes remained at the scene until the police arrived. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. Bond was set at one million dollars.


Part I of Road Rage discussed what are known as triggers to road rage; i.e. behaviors while driving that can cause other drivers on the road to get very angry and to develop road rage. One trigger was aggressive driving such as speeding, cutting drivers off, and tailgating, which it appears Hayes was was engaged in and which was the cause of the rear-end collision between Hayes and Smith.

Hayes was driving aggressively and hit Smith; Smith reacted angrily. Both men become enraged. But what might have ended with words exchanged or possibly a few punches thrown instead ended up with a husband and father dead, and a wife and mother wounded.


According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Association, 66% of traffic fatalities are caused by aggressive driving. Over one-third--37%--of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm, according to research conducted for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Putting the research and statistics together yields the following conclusion: aggressive drivers are more likely to have road rage incidents, are more likely to use firearms, and therefore the incidents they are involved in are more likely to be fatal.


In Part I of this series under the section titled "How to Stop Road Stress from becoming Road Rage," tip #6 advises people not to carry guns in the car. Contrary to what some gun owners may assert, the presence of firearms in a car does not encourage good behavior. In fact, statistics and tragedies like Smith's show that the presence of firearms in a road rage situation is likely to result in a lethal outcome.

When encountering an aggressive driver, it is better to slow down and let them proceed. If the driver rear-ends your car--as Hayes did to Smith--it is best to call 911, stay in your car and on the phone with the dispatcher until the aggressive driver leaves or the police arrive. Confronting the aggressive driver is never a good idea, and the tragic death of Will Smith is the most recent example of what happens when that rule is not heeded.


If you have been injured by an aggressive driver, contact Dave Thomas at The Thomas Law Firm for a free evaluation of your case.

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