(WTOC/WAFB) - More than six million car crashes occur in the US each year, according to the National Highway Safety Administration, and officials believe many of those crashes are related to aggressive driving.
Police said aggressive driving and road rage situations are very different. Aggressive driving is only a traffic offense, while road rage is a criminal offense. However, police added aggressive driving can eventually turn into a road rage situation.
Here's the scenario: It's just another day for you. You are heading to work, traveling along your usual route. While you are catching up with friend on the phone, you realize someone is riding on your tail. They swerve around you and slam on their brakes.
The driver jumps out of his car and starts yelling at you.
"What's wrong with you? You don't know how to drive! Get off your phone!"
Think fast, what are you going to do?
"Once you see that a person is irate and their emotions have gotten the best of them, the last thing you want to do is escalate that even further," said Gary Taylor, training director for the Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department. "You shouldn't have any verbal contact with them to escalate the situation and make it any worse."
He said call 911 and report it. If you can, back up and remove yourself from the situation.
"The biggest thing anyone can do is to remain calm.
"We can't control traffic conditions, but we can control our reaction to traffic conditions and sometimes, we just have to slow things down," Taylor added.
There are ways you can avoid aggressive driving and road rage situations. Taylor said if someone is following too closely or if someone cuts you off, don't react.
"The last thing you want to do is most commonly what people do is tap their brake lights. That creates a lot more chaos," he explained.
"The last thing you want to do is roll your window down and start hollering, 'What's your problem? You need to learn how to drive,'" said Taylor.
He said police will try to track down the person, ticketing them for either aggressive driving or road rage.