What to do in a road rage situation

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Last month, the morning drive to work became a nightmare for Kay Hafford. She says a man cut her off on the North Freeway and she honked at him. The next thing she knew, a bullet came through her window and grazed her head.

"He had to be mad at something," Hafford said. "It's definitely taught me to have more patience."

Hafford was one of two violent road rage incidents in a week's time, part of an uptick in angry drivers taking it too far on the road.

Out of the 1,069 road rage incidents statewide in 2013 (the year with the most recent numbers available), 76 people died. Such crashes have recently been on the rise. In Harris County, they have nearly doubled since 2010 - from 120 to 214. Montgomery and Galveston Counties have seen increases too.

With the help of MSR Houston's driving pro, as well as a state trooper, Eyewitness News hit the track to show the most common road rage scenarios and how to escape them.

"That way you don't become a victim," said trooper Stephen Woodard.

In the controlled environment, we started with extreme tailgating. Driving pro Sydney Davis was just inches away from our car.

"It's going to cause an accident, cause you to rear end him, or another individual to rear end you," Woodard said.

The angry driver swerves around and gestures. At this point you may be tempted to respond, but Woodard says don't.

The next scenario had the driver brake checking us - she whipped around our car only to hit the brakes.

"Back off, keep both hands on the wheel, maintain control of the vehicle, and do not engage in the situation," Woodard said.

The third most common road rage situation has the angry driver right next to you baiting you for a reaction. If you engage, you never know what might happen, so Woodard says to let the driver go without reacting.

"An individual could have a weapon, they could have something in their car they could throw at you. You just don't know," Woodard said. "It's it not worth it. It's just not worth it."

If an angry driver ever follows you, do not engage. Instead, drive to a safe place like a police station. If you ever feel like your life is in danger, immediately call 911.

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