Two recent stories that garnered national media coverage offer lessons in how to drive to survive on increasingly congested highways populated by growing numbers of road-rage motorists.

Last week a young couple driving on Interstate 270 near Frederick died when they became involved in a road-rage incident. Police said the couple exchanged obscene gestures with the driver of pickup truck, who then hit his brakes directly in front of their car. Swerving to avoid the collision, the car went airborne and both occupants were ejected. They died at the scene. Police are still seeking the driver of the pickup.

Traffic safety experts urge motorists not to become involved in such altercations in the first place. Numerous studies have shown that people are often more aggressive behind the wheel than in other aspects of their lives. This tragedy confirms the inherent danger of allowing such emotions to take over while operating a motor vehicle traveling at high speeds.When confronted by another driver making obscene gestures, tail-gating, beeping the horn or otherwise exhibiting threatening behavior, look straight ahead. If the behavior persists, drive to a public area or a police station, or call police on your cell phone.

Also last week, New Jersey Gov. Jon S. Corzine was critically injured when the car he was riding in - at a reported speed of 91 mph - was involved in a highway accident. The governor was the most seriously injured of those in the car, suffering a dozen broken ribs, a severely broken leg and other internal injuries.

In addition to allowing his police driver to grossly exceed the speed limit, Corzine violated the first rule of motor vehicle safety: Buckle up. Police said he apparently was not wearing his seat belt.

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