• Remember: There are no winners. "Driving isn't a contest you can win," Hamilton says. "But you have plenty to lose if you let your emotions take the wheel and cause a wreck."
If it's the other way around, and someone is gesturing at you, laying on the horn, or verbally taunting you, stay calm and take control of the situation. If your actions may have agitated another driver, try to defuse it with a polite wave. Otherwise, Hamilton says, avoid eye contact to keep things from feeling too personal. If you're being tailgated, change lanes. If someone wants to pass, slow down and let him—and if that guy flying by sticks up his middle finger, don't return the gesture. If someone is showing signs of rage, stay behind them at all costs. If necessary, pull off the road or take a different exit to create some distance.
"De-escalation is key," Hamilton says. "Even if you're 'in the right' in a confrontation, the stakes are too high to justify engagement. You or anyone else nearby could be killed in an instant if the situation isn't brought under control quickly. Whatever you do, don't get out of the car, and don't try to settle things 'man to man.'"