Sara Bruehl's tragic shooting 15 years ago sill serves as a sad reminder of the fragility of life and the importance of safe driving.
We ask that you all, especially teen drivers, remember Sara's story and the fact that there are dangerous drivers on the road who sometimes carry weapons and suffer from road rage, or are looking for a fight.
All drivers must be held accountable for their actions and remember that it's always better to act safe and smart, even if potential danger is unapparent.
After recently speaking with Sara Bruehl's mother, Chris McIlwee, we thought it was important to offer the following advice to teenage drivers about staying safe.
If another driver is harassing you on the road:
•Try to get the car's license plate number and take note of the color and make of the car
•Call the police with the information and your location
•Drive to a well-lit and well-attended public area and honk the horn to attract someone's attention
•Don't antagonize the other driver by checking your breaks, speeding up to get ahead of them, playing "cat and mouse games," or tailgating
•Do not respond to the driver and avoid any conflict
•Don't let the other driver pull up to your window
•Give the other driver a lot of room when he/she is driving
•Leave room around your vehicle so you can pull out or around if someone approaches you
•Avoid eye contact with the other driver and do not use any hang signals or non-verbal communication - it can be taken as a threat by someone with road rage
•Never get out of your vehicle
Parents, check on your children, even if it's before curfew. Don't hesitate to call just to make sure that they've made it to their destination or are on their way home. You may want to put a rule in place that the teen call you before he/she leaves anywhere, and call you if they're delayed.
Parents should also make sure they have the cell phone numbers of their teen's friends who are traveling with them or know of their whereabouts, just in case the teen cannot be reached. Taking such precautions could be a life saver.
We encourage all parents talk to their teenagers about what happened to Sara and what could have possibly been done to diffuse the situation.
Be sure to create a plan of action with your teen for if/when they are harassed by an aggressive driver. Arm your children with driving tips for road safety.