WASHINGTON D.C. -- Honking, yelling and cursing during a drive around the DMV has become so common place that many people walking along M Street during rush hour don't bat an eye when they hear two drivers duke it out with their horns and favorite hand gestures.
Road rage incidents are far more concerning to those keeping an eye on road safety, though.
One reason is because of the volume. Triple A statistics show that 80 percent of Americans have drivers expressed significant anger and aggression behind the wheel.
In more and more of those cases the anger is turning to violent confrontations. Fights on the roadway or using a car to ram another driver's can be dangerous enough but AAA says in 37 percent of the incidents a gun is used to intimidate another driver or to cause harm.
Policy classify road rage as aggressive driving which can include tailgating, honking the horn excessively and speeding. Other examples include cutting off other drivers suddenly, using rude gestures or attempting to shout out the window at other drivers. Other more obvious violations include throwing objects from a vehicle, intentionally causing a car accident and getting out of the car in an attempt to confront another driver.
Being on your phone or checking a GPS device wouldn't draw an aggressive driving charge but deputies in Stafford County say they've seen incidents spiral out of control because drivers are angry at other drivers distracted by their electronics.
"Distracted driving is a gigantic problem," said Deputy Jason Aubrey of the Stafford County Sheriff's Office. "They actually go hand in hand when you're in your car and your dealing with something else you're not paying attention to what's going on-- you may miss that aggressive driver which could cause an accident because you're not paying attention yourself."
Here are some tips on dealing with aggressive drivers on the road:
- Stay calm and don’t let the road rage spread to you.
- If someone is tailgating you, safely move out of the lane the first chance you get.
- Avoid eye contact, and do not make any gestures.
- Make sure you have enough room around your car, just in case you need to make an escape.
- If a driver gets out of his or her car, stay inside yours as it offers protection.