By Ken W. Harrell, Managing Partner

In the March 21 edition of the Charleston Post and Courier, the front page article detailed a “road rage” incident between Craig Culpepper, an off-duty police officer from North Carolina, and Chad Walton, a Summerville man. The incident was filmed by Mr. Walton and posted on YouTube to be viewed by hundreds of thousands of viewers. You can also see the video on a link at www.postandcourier.com.

In the video (which Mr. Walton also narrates), Mr. Walton complains about the police officer holding up traffic in the left lane. At one point, Mr. Walton passes the police cruiser on the right, shortly after, the police officer speeds up and swerves in front of Mr. Walton’s truck, before quickly slamming on the brakes, resulting in a minor rear-end collision. Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, the fall-out from the incident has resulted in Officer Culpepper resigning from his job with the Onslow County, North Carolina sheriff’s department. In the Post and Courier article, Mr. Culpepper’s apology for the incident (which certainly seemed heartfelt to me) was posted.

It is beyond me to understand why “road rage” and “aggressive driving” appear to be on the increase but it certainly seems to be the case, based on my personal experiences on the road and the injury cases we are seeing at Joye Law Firm. Some of the most common examples include racing, tailgating, swerving in and out of lanes, and aggressively refusing to let other vehicles merge into the lane of travel.

AAA reports that more than half of all traffic fatalities in the United States result from aggressive driving. People who engage in this behavior range from carelessness to psychopathic. Traffic congestion is one consistent cause. As roads become more congested, people often lose patience and forget the basic courtesies they should extend to other drivers. Knowing this, perhaps it’s no surprise that the incident between Mr. Walton and Mr. Culpepper occurred on I-526. I’m convinced that road is the “Bermuda Triangle” of Charleston highways.

How do we avoid being the victim of road rage? Here are a few basic tips. First, if you are a slower driver, keep to the right. If you encounter an angry driver, back off and let it go – avoid eye contact and whatever you do, avoid a confrontation. Another category that is increasing is the number of people who carry guns with them and the last thing you want to do is to have a minor car accident escalate into something more tragic.

If you feel that you’re being chased or harassed, drive with the flow of traffic, call 911 if you can, and go to a safe, public place. Most importantly, remember the golden rule that our grandmothers taught us: “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” We’ve all made mistakes behind the wheel. If someone cuts you off, give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was unintentional, rather than escalating the situation. Remember the old Chinese proverb: “those intent on revenge had best dig two graves.” Stay safe out there.

About the Author

Since 1968, the South Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys of Joye Law Firm have been committed to securing compensation for accident and injury victims. Our compassionate and dedicated lawyers have over 300 years of combined litigation experience, and many of them have been recognized as South Carolina Super Lawyers. For many years, our South Carolina personal injury law firm has been listed with an AV rating in the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell legal directory.

Recent Blog Post
What to do in South Carolina? Events for the week of June 4 - 10th in Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, Myrtle
What to Do in South Carolina: Joye Law Firm Staff Picks 6/4/24 – 6/10/24

    The Joye Law Firm team has handpicked a selection of the most exciting activities, guaranteed to bring joy and entertainment to everyone. This week our team’s favorite summer events promise unforgettable experiences filled with fun, food, music, and…

Mark Joye sitting at his desk
Inside Super Lawyers: Recognizing Mark C. Joye

Joye Law Firm is pleased to announce that Mark C. Joye, the Head of our Litigation Department, has been selected for inclusion in South Carolina Super Lawyers for the 17th consecutive year. In addition to having been selected every year…

Avoid Truck Accidents by Avoiding Their Blind Spots

Americans love to drive SUVs and pickups because they are higher off the ground and provide a better view of the road. Because commercial trucks like 18-wheelers are even taller, you might think they’d have the best view of the…

What to do in South Carolina? Events for the week of May 28-June 1 in Charleston, Summerville, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, and upstate.
What to Do in South Carolina: Joye Law Firm Staff Picks 5/28/24 – 6/3/24

  Step into June and embrace the summer spirit with an array of vibrant music festivals, exhilarating bike rides, and thrilling races. The Joye Law Firm team has carefully curated a selection of this week’s most exciting activities, guaranteed to…

Awards & Recognition
Media
ABC
NBC
Fox
CBS News
ESPN Radio logo