ARLINGTON, Texas — Arlington's latest road rage incident comes as police try to convince drivers to keep calm.
Around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday, April 5, police said a semi driver traveling on North Collins Street reported a man in a car cut him off near the Tides of North Collins apartment complex.
"It led to a confrontation where the person in the vehicle displayed a firearm," said Arlington Police commander Brian Garcia.
Firearms were also part of another road rage case that took place around 8 p.m. Monday, April 3, near Watson and Randol Mill roads, police said.
Officers found a man shot in the arm, and a woman shot in the leg sitting in their car. The victims told police they drove to the location after another driver cut them off while on Highway 360. First, they exchanged words and then there was gunfire, the victims told police.
University of North Texas Professor and Psychologist Dr. Susan Franks warns against getting angry after a traffic incident. Dr. Franks explained that some drivers involved in road rage cases may have most likely already been upset or angry about something else.
Dr. Franks also stressed it's important to recognize your own level of anger before finding yourself in a situation that may trigger behavior behind the wheel. Knowing how to stop yourself from escalating is also a good preventive measure, according to Dr. Franks.
"You have to figure out a way to quickly calm yourself down," Dr. Franks said. "Road rage typically occurs because of built up frustrations. You need to just relax, take a moment and breathe."
Just like the police, Dr. Franks urges drivers to avoid allowing a traffic incident to escalate their behavior, especially if the other driver has become aggressive.
"You have frustrations, conflicts or things that you have not resolved that you have been holding in, and you may not even be aware of it," Dr. Franks said. "And then, you have this one pressurized situation, and then you react. You are less likely to react if you are calm. Being enraged and being calm are incongruent with each other, so, doing some simple breathing exercises, where you just breathe in slowly, and breathe out slowly, will help calm your system down."
After the June 2017 road rage death of 19-year-old Dylan Spaid, the Arlington Police Department created a road rage hotline. Spaid was killed on Interstate 20 after being shot by another driver when he was trying to merge into traffic.
Police use the road rage hotline as a preventive measure. Callers are asked to report aggressive drivers' information, including license plate numbers. Even though the hotline may not lead to criminal charges, police say the goal is to stop road rage incidents from getting to that point. You can reach the hotline at 817-459-5389.
Garcia also shared some basic steps for people who may be involved in road rage situations and need help.
"First thing that we ask is that they get out of the way or out of the situation. Secondly, we ask that they do not engage the driver in any way. Third, when it is safe to do so, call 911, get a license plate and give your location, so we get officers to your location," said Garcia.
"We in turn take that information and contact the registered owner and let them know that someone reported them as driving aggressively," Garcia said. "We will send them a letter."
The semi driver in the road rage case on North Collins didn't want to go on camera, but described the confrontation as terrifying to his employer. Arlington Police said the investigation is ongoing.