Feeling the rage

LIHUE — Marc Sonada said one of his friends was driving in Kapaa with high-intensity discharge lights on the front of his vehicle, when the car in front of his friend began driving slower.

“And the guy in front of him got really pissed off. He was driving really slow and my friend didn’t mean to highlight the guy, so he honked at him trying to figure out why he was slowing down,” Sonada said.

The two cars pulled over and the other driver pulled out a gun, Sonada said.

A recent survey by autoinsurancecenter.com based entirely on Instagram posts revealed that Hawaii residents are most prone to becoming enraged while they drive. The survey was done by mapping geotagged #RoadRage posts.

“We’ve seen a surprising number of cases in the last few years where people have taken their frustrations on the road to the level where law enforcement has to get involved,” Prosecuting Attorney Justin Kollar said. “As difficult and aggravating as some situations can be, we do ask that folks drive aloha and remember that a court case lasts a lot longer than a traffic jam.”

Recently, a Lihue man was convicted of disorderly conduct and asked to pay $500 for a road rage incident where he brandished a Crosman airsoft gun and threatened another driver at the Kapaa Bypass Road in 2013.

In another incident, court records showed a woman became so upset while in traffic at the Twin Bridges in Wainiha that she got out of her vehicle with a CO2-powered BB handgun and shot at the back window of an another car that had passed her. The people in the other car were tourists. The woman was arrested after police found methamphetamine and other drug baggies in her car.

Kapaa resident Mitchell Oishi said he’s also seen some dangerous things on the highways around Kapaa when there’s heavy traffic.

“I see guys going down on the shoulder of the road,” he said. “I see people doing some nuts stuff. Very dangerous. Every time we have some sort of accident and some person is going down the shoulder and not looking and they try to go around it — BAM — I’ve seen that.”

The #RoadRage survey also ranked the days and the time of day that people feel the most road rage, Friday and 6 p.m., respectively.

“The rise of social media has given motorists new ways to vent their driving-related frustrations — a much better option than expressing anger while behind the wheel,” the survey reported. “To learn more about commuters’ frustrations, we analyzed 65,535 Instagram posts hashtagged #RoadRage to find out where, when, and why American drivers are feeling most aggravated.”

The most commonly mentioned phrase, according to the survey, is “traffic.” Other words such as “stuck,” “trafficjam” and “rushhour” also stood out.

“Interestingly, drivers in Hawaii by far feel the most hostility behind the wheel,” the survey said. “One possible cause? Traffic in Honolulu was recently ranked third-worst in the nation. The Aloha State also ranked in the top 10 states popular for tourists — and as many locals can attest, an influx of out-of-state motorists trying to navigate unfamiliar roads can be stressful at best.”

Marisa White of Eleele can relate.

Last week, White said it took two hours to get home from her job in Lihue.

“It was because of the concert Friday night,” she said. “The roads over here are kind of frustrating because if something happens, you’re kind of stuck. It’s two lanes. But this is Kauai. It’s to be expected. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s that or add more roads, which I don’t want.”

Oishi thinks something should be done about traffic congestion — which could lead to road rage — in and around Kapaa.

“If there is an accident right there by the golf course, that’s a two-hour delay,” Oishi said. “There’s a Haul Cane Road that’s mauka up the road. If they opened that up, at least they can reroute the traffic, instead of everyone just being locked over there. Gridlocked for two hours. It’s freaking nuts.”

California ranked second in most #Roadrage posts.


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