Kilkenny road-rage incident: 'If he got me out of the car he would have beaten me in front of the children'
A terrified mother was confronted by a man who started "rocking the car on the road" while she and four children were inside.
Hazel experienced the extreme road-rage experience in Kilkenny in August 2015, when a man "swerved from the right-hand lane" while she was driving and blocked the road.
"He got out of the car and he just came at me. He came at our car and he was screaming and shouting," she told Liveline. "He leaned to open my car door and I thought 'I'm in trouble now'. His face was twisted, he was totally enraged."
Hazel locked her car doors as he approached to protect her sons, age 9 and 7, and two other children, age 3 and 1, who were "obviously stunned" by the attack. "He got out of the car and he just came at me. He came at our car and he was screaming and shouting," she said.
Hazel remained in the car while he damaged it. "He's shouting, he's kicking the car, he's slamming the window trying to break it. He's rocking the car on the road.
"I was screaming inside saying I don't know what to do. We're in danger and I don't know what to do. I felt very vulnerable. He was just dancing on the side of the car."
The unprovoked attack ended after a few minutes when the man ran back to his car and drove away.
Hazel had memorised his licence plate and immediately reported it to the Gardaí. He was recently fined €150 in court for his behavior, and ordered to pay her her €1,000, which she donated to charity.
She says she had no way to prepare for the attack, and she is thankful she trusted her instints and locked her doors as her approached, as they were "vulnerable and terrified and helpless".
"There is no doubt in my mind if he got me out of the car he would have beaten me in front of the children. No doubt at all. For no reason, I hadn't done anything wrong. He'd lost it.
"He admitted to the guards he didn't even see the children in the car, that's how far gone he was.
"He basically turned us into victims for no really good reason and there's no way you could even prepare yourself. The only thing I can say to anybody is follow your gut and lock your door. It sounds really simple but it's so important.
"If he got me out of the car I don't know where I'd be now."