WEST HAVEN — Road rage and aggressive driving are on the rise, according to national statistics from AAA.
One Spanish Fork man, who was ejected from an SUV in a road rage crash last fall, truly feels the consequences.
Jared Hansen was heading home from work with two friends during rush hour on state Route 201 in October 2016. He was the backseat passenger when the driver of the car he was in and the driver of another vehicle started dueling on the road.
The road rage started with a cut-off and then aggressive braking, Hansen said. Both cars were swerving at each other, which eventually caused the SUV Hansen was in to rollover.
Hansen, who broke his neck 11 years ago in another car crash, wasn’t wearing a seat belt and was ejected 60 feet out of the vehicle. He was airlifted to University Hospital with extremely critical injuries.
“I usually would wear a seat belt,” he said. “And that’s the thing is that I don’t remember why I didn’t have one (on).”
Alisha Hansen, Hansen’s sister, recalled the difficult time following the crash.
“It was really rough,” she said. “Just told us that pretty much he wouldn’t make it.”
Hansen had shattered his neck in five places. He also had a broken pelvis and collapsed lungs. Doctors even removed a piece of his skull to relieve brain swelling, he said.
After months of grueling therapy, Hansen is walking again. He considers himself lucky.
“I don’t know why people get angry (on the road),” he said.
National highway statistics show 94 percent of crashes are caused by driver error. Of those errors, 33 percent could be linked to behaviors typical of road rage. Those behaviors include illegal maneuvering or misreading the intent of another driver.
Police were never able to track down the other driver from the crash Hansen was in.
Hansen understands others drivers can sometimes be irritating, but he believes there are better ways than to take those frustrations out on the road.
His advice: “Just shrug it,” he said. “It’s just you getting mad to save a few seconds.”