By Zeta Cross, contributor | The Center Square
(The Center Square) – More angry motorists are pulling out guns and shooting at strangers on Illinois roadways. Illinois State Police are taking notice and urging drivers to use caution.
Trooper Joshua Robinson of the Illinois State Police told The Center Square that road rage shootings have doubled in the past three years.
“It’s a real phenomenon,” Robinson said.
Nearly half the shootings on Chicago expressways are the result of road rage, Robinson said.
Watch out for the other drivers. Drive cautiously. Road rage incidents can quickly escalate into violence, Robinson said.
If something happens, don’t expect the guy in the other vehicle to shrug it off, he said.
“Maybe you cut somebody off. Maybe you weren’t paying attention and you did something that you should not have done. Whatever you do, don’t engage the other driver,” Robinson said. “You don’t know what they are capable of doing.”
Between 2019 and June 2022, there were more than 500 shootings on or near Illinois expressways. Interviews with victims and witnesses show that nearly half of those shootings occurred between strangers when one driver made another driver angry, Robinson said. So far this year, documented shootings due to road rage are up by 12% over the same period in 2021.
Police suggest drivers get away from the angry individual. Try to get off the expressway. If the driver follows, keep calm and head to a well-lighted place, such as a business or a parking lot where there are other people. Never get out of the car.
“They want to have it out. They want to get their point across, and they want you to know that you were wrong – whether that is the case or not,” Robinson said.
To deal with the increase in expressway shootings, Illinois State Police have established a new squad of troopers based in Chicago to keep an eye out for aggravated drivers. The troopers are also using license plate readers to track stolen vehicles.
Robinson invites motorists who see aggressive drivers to call 9-1-1 and provide a description of the vehicles.
“Maybe you are in a different lane, and you see a couple of aggressive drivers. It’s OK to call and report that,” he said.
If an officer is close by, they can stop them and find out what is going on, Robinson said.
“The only way you can ensure that something further is not going to happen is to not approach, not encounter people who are driving aggressively around you,” he said.
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