‘It is every day’ -- Road rage on the rise in Metro Detroit

Nearly 30 shootings on Metro Detroit freeways this year so far

Road rage on the rise in Metro Detroit

DETROIT – Road rage is on the rise in Metro Detroit and across the country, leaving police with few answer on how to fight it.

Michigan State Police are investigating a freeway shooting that happened on I-75 early Friday night. It’s the third freeway shooting within two days.

In another shooting, Vadim Brayman was driving home on Orchard Lake Road in West Bloomfield when another driver became infuriated for merging in front of him.

That driver took his rage to a dangerous level.

“It got to a point when he got out of his car,” Brayman recalled. “I was like, ‘My goodness, I got to get out of here.’”

Michigan State Police said aggression on the roads is on the rise.

In Detroit, a van had been shot up by another driver on I-75 Friday morning. Investigators are trying to determine if it too was road rage.

Authorities said road rage incidents are trending up significantly.

“We can say it is every day,” said MSP Lt. Michael Shaw. “You have one family grieving the loss of a loved one. You have another family with someone going to prison.”

As of July 9, there have been 27 shootings on Metro Detroit highways this year -- half were road rage shootings. Why are more drivers turning to violence behind the wheel?

“It’s because of fight or flight. They’re afraid,” said clinical psychologist Dr. Donna Rockwell. “As we’ve been seeing recently, people are afraid and they are not using their reasoning.”

Rockwell said there’s a connection between road rage and biology. People were cooped up due to COVID, haven’t been using their brains to make life-or-death decisions and are now reacting to things and not thinking.

“If you want to get into an altercation on the side of the road with someone go ahead, but it is not going to end well,” Rockwell said. “You have to think about what you want in the long run. You want to go home to your family, so you better do everything you can to make sure that’s what happens.”

How can you protect yourself from road rage violence?

Road rage is on the rise in Metro Detroit and across the country, leaving police with few answer on how to fight it.

“The thing to remember is everyday people are injured or killed in road rage situation,” said Dale Brown.

Brown is a safety expert with Detroit Urban Survival Training (DUST). He said there are three things to know when another driver is directing their rage at you.

“It is imperative to avoid any kind of communication that could be adversarial,” Brown said.

DUST released a video on its Instagram page showing a maneuver used by the U.S. Secret Service that can help a driver get away from a road rage situation.

Brown said the top three things to remember to avoid a road rage incident are:

  • Don’t make eye contact
  • Don’t show emotion
  • Let them pass you

“Drive in a far left lane,” Brown said. “Secret Service teaches to drive in the far left lane so someone cannot pull up and shoot the driver.”

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.