Road Rage May Have Caused San Diego Crash

  • Jun 03 2014
  • Gilleon Law Firm, APC

road_rage_accident_san_diegoPolice are investigating the possibility that a freeway crash that injured two women was the result of road rage, according to recent California Highway Patrol reports. The accident occurred on Interestate 8 West between the exits for College Avenue and Waring Road. The two women, Kelsey Shakespeare, 21, and Stephanie Pontarolo, 33, apparently became involved in an altercation of some sort. Pontarolo, who was driving a green Tacoma pickup truck, allegedly pulled alongside Shakespeare, who was driving a silver Jetta, and swerved to the right, hitting the car. Both vehicles crashed onto the right freeway shoulder and the truck overturned.

Pontarolo was treated for cuts and scrapes to her face and body while Shakespeare was examined for back pain. Investigators are not sure what started the fight but if it can be shown that Pontarolo deliberately caused the accident, she could face attempted murder charges or charges of assault with a deadly weapon. The entire scene was apparently captured on a dashboard camera by a driver following the pair. The driver then posted the video to YouTube.

Everyone Is Watching

While it may be tempting to smile ironically at this story, it highlights two very important trends on our roads today: road rage and the ubiquity of cameras.

“Road rage” is the term applied to out-of-control driver behavior that can often lead to tragedy. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, of the 6.8 million crashes in the United States per year, a significant number are caused by aggressive driving, which the NHTSA defines as driving dangerously. This does not mean that these drivers are experiencing road rage; in some cases they are simply behavior carelessly.

However, the NHTSA also notes that aggressive driving can easily escalate to true road rage. The NHTSA gives the following suggestions for avoiding aggressive drivers:

  • Drive defensively. This means that, instead of “taking” the right-of-way, allow someone else to have it if that driver is aggressive. It also means anticipating situations in which another driver may break the law or put you or your passengers in danger. For example, a defensive driver approaching an intersection will make an assumption that another driver might not stop for the stop sign and will plan ahead accordingly.
  • Never engage another driver. Avoid verbal shouting, hand gestures or other engagement of an aggressive driver.
  • Pull over. If necessary, pull over and call the police if you feel threatened by another driver. Try to have a description of the driver and the vehicle as well as a license plate number if possible.

If you are injured in a road rage accident, contact Daniel M. Gilleon in San Diego for help protecting your rights.

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