ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Illinois State Police (ISP) said more people are letting their road rage get the best of them. In Illinois so far this year, there have been 29 expressway shootings. But, police said the shootings and road rage aren’t always correlated.

In January 2023, an expressway shooting happened on I-74 near Farmer City. No one was hurt in that incident. But, on I-57, just south of Kankakee in January, two people with gunshot wounds were killed.

In 2022, one happened in Champaign on I-74. It was one of 189 expressway shootings in 2022 across the state.

Police said while the number of shootings is going down, the road rage isn’t.

“We’ve all been in traffic before, we’ve all had long days at work, I understand it gets frustrating,” Josh Kornado, an Illinois State Police trooper, said. “There’s just really no reason to escalate it to where violence happens.”

He said that’s not an excuse to let your anger be in the driver’s seat.

“If you can tell that somebody is following too closely, or they’re trying to pass you on the shoulder, cutting you off, slamming on the breaks,” Kornado added.

So, why do some people react like that on the roads? Emily Beck, a social worker, said there can be many factors, such as past traumas.

“Something that feels intensely personal, conflict with somebody they care about. Even conflict with somebody that they don’t care about or don’t even know,” she said.

She added that rage is a step above just “being angry.”

“When people describe seeing red, that’s not always just a metaphor,” Beck said. “Sometimes people literally see red when they experience rage.”

Kornado said when that feeling happens behind the wheel, you need to take a step back.

“Don’t do anything that’s going to put yourself in danger,” he said. “Driving itself is dangerous enough already, so don’t do anything that’s going to make it that much worse.”

If you see erratic driving on the road, state troopers encourage people not to get involved, and call the police instead.

“If someone’s trying to cut you off, or you see them speeding, there’s no reason for you to handle that out on the road,” Kornado added. “That’s why we’re out there.”

Beck said there are a few ways to help control rages, such as exercise and therapy. But that’s not all.

“Spending time outside can really help to ground somebody, spending time around people who are calming to you can be really helpful,” Beck suggests.

State troopers said Statewide Anti-Violence Enforcement (SAVE) units are helping them combat highway conflicts like road rage. Kornado said the program is helping the number of expressway shootings go down.

ISP tracks all expressway shootings in an online database. You can access that data and learn more at this link.