A Georgia teenager wanted to save a parking space for a pregnant friend, so she wouldn't need to walk too far to the store. But before her friend arrived, a woman driving an SUV arrived and wanted the spot.
A dispute ensued, and it ended when the woman rammed the teenager out of the spot with her car, according to police.
"She told her to move and then she pulled into the parking spot and hit her with the tire of the vehicle," Bartow County Sheriff's Office investigator Jonathan White told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They did see scuff marks on the victim's knee, which was consistent with the height of the tire during that incident."
Deputies arrested Angela Cornett, a member of the Bartow County school board. Cornett said the teen purposely leaned into the vehicle as she parked, but police say a Walmart parking lot security video corroborates the victim's version of events. The victim was not seriously injured.
A similar case occurred last month in Ann Arbor, Michigan, when a woman saving an empty parking spot for a friend was rammed by a driver who wanted the same space.
It's unclear whether the two incidents are part of a larger trend. Statistics on car-versus-pedestrian road-rage incidents are not kept, and most researchers lump road-rage incidents together as part of "aggressive driver" records. But aggressive driving can include things like speeding. What is apparent is that many drivers get very heated while circling parking lots looking for a parking space, especially around peak times like holidays and Saturday mornings.
More than 300 Americans are seriously injured or killed every year in road-rage incidents, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
We don't know how many people are killed in incidents such as the ones in Georgia and Michigan above, but we do know this: In car-versus-pedestrian incidents, the pedestrian always loses. Here are a few tips for keeping yourself safe:
- Don't engage with angry drivers. It's not worth the risk. They might have weapons. They might choose to use their car as a weapon.
- If someone is shaking their fist and making threatening gestures, the best move you can make is pull over and let them get away from you, or turn off of your route to get away from the other car. The best way to avoid a fight is to leave it before it starts.
-If someone has left their vehicle and is confronting you on foot outside of your car, get your doors locked. Calm yourself and turn away. If you have your phone, dial 911 and let the responder know that the police are coming.