PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Have you ever been in a scary situation behind the wheel? On the heels of a 10-year-old girl losing her life in a road rage incident, we've gathered some tips for you if you're behind the wheel and you have an aggressor following you.
Maybe some of us have witnessed or even been a victim of aggressive driving. Police say that drivers should be understanding of the circumstances because the drivers around you are in the same situation.
Be calm, pay attention to the road and try to put yourself in someone else's shoes. If you have that you've agitated another driver, whether you're at fault or not, don't react or retaliate. The situation will only escalate and avoid eye contact.
"We recommend that you get to a safe location and if you can't and you have the ability to, make a phone call," one police officer said. "Call Phoenix Police or 911 and let them know you're being followed by an aggressive driver. You can only make right turns at major intersections every mile to stay in the area so we can keep trying and trying to connect with us."
AAA also shared insight as to how to handle these potentially dangerous situations. In a AAA study on aggressive driving and road rage, nine out of 10 drivers said they believe aggressive driving or road rage is a serious threat to their safety.
"What was more alarming is that eight out of 10 [drivers] admitted to engaging in some form of it," said a spokesperson with AAA. "Whether it's telling, laying on the horn or getting out of the vehicle to confront the driver."
The most common behaviors are tailgating, yelling, honking the horn to show annoyance or anger, angry gestures, blocking another car from changing lanes - the list goes on.
But there are ways that you can stay safe when you're behind the wheel.
"Don't offend [someone]," the spokesperson said. "Everyone has cut someone off or did something they didn't mean to do. A simple sorry or wave can go a long way. Be tolerant - if someone shows aggression or lays on their horn, don't take it personally."
Most importantly: don't engage and don't make eye contact. But what if the driver takes it a step further and starts harassing you or, even worse, starts following you home? The last thing you want to do is go home. Instead, go to a populated, well-lit area, like a gas station, for instance. Or even a police station.
Police say always report and call 911. Give specific areas. One tip: Make only right turns at major intersections every mile to stay in the area so police can find you.
"Even if you can get their license plate number, you can call and let law enforcement know and a description of the vehicle," __ said. "Before you start getting upset, before you start to allow yourself to escalate in behavior, think about what happened and know that it's not worth it."
AAA says the number of road rage incidents may be greater because these incidents get under-reported.
Think twice before you honk the horn or flip that finger. Getting home safely is more important than teaching someone a dangerous lesson.