Police: Disengage and call 911 if confronted with a road rage

Jun 6, 2023, 7:08 PM | Updated: 7:18 pm

LEHI, Utah — A Lehi woman hopes her frightening encounter with road rage will help other drivers stay safe if they find themselves in a similar situation.

“I have never had somebody hold their horn for three minutes without letting up at me and just screaming obscenities,” recalled Laurel Dorff.

The mom of four said she was driving a route she’s been on hundreds of times as she set out to drive her children to gymnastics.

“The car in front of me hit their brakes really quickly, so I checked my blind spot and moved over to the other lane so that I wouldn’t have to hit my brakes aggressively,” Dorff explained.

As she accelerated in the new lane, a vehicle approached behind her.

“He lays on his horn and just holds it, and so he’s mad,” Dorff said. “I say, ‘Oops, sorry!’ and move over to the other lane as soon as I can.”

The driver also moved into the other lane and followed behind Dorff.

“He hasn’t let up the horn this whole time, and I can see in my rearview mirror he’s doing all these vulgar gestures,” Dorff said. “He’s yelling. He’s upset.”

She said the vehicle followed her into a left-turn lane and continued honking the entire time the light was red. Once the light turns green, the car pulls up next to Dorff’s minivan.

“He’s rolled his window down and is yelling at me and cursing at me, still gesturing wildly, and I’ve got my 6-year-old and my 3-year-old in the car with me watching this whole thing go down,” Dorff said.

Professor: Road rage often reflects what is happening in a driver’s life

Dorff did exactly what police recommended when confronted by an angry driver.

“I just stared straight ahead. Didn’t make eye contact. Didn’t engage,” she said. “But it was terrifying. I didn’t know how long he was going to keep following me. Eventually, he just did one more long honk and peeled off and was gone.”

“In most cases, when you disengage, when you back away, the other party will continue on their way—cursing under their breath or out loud about what an awful driver you are—but they’re gone,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. “Anger takes so much energy than just going on. We shouldn’t weaponized our vehicles.”

Cannon said such advice could have saved two innocent lives in a suspected road-rage crash in Eagle Mountain on Sunday.

In addition to not engaging the other driver, Cannon advised to call 911 and to de-escalate the situation by driving to a public place or even to a police station.

“If you pull over to try to extricate yourself from a road rage situation and somebody comes to your car, stay in your car,” he added.

Dorff said the encounter was scary and traumatizing for her kids. She just hopes other drivers learn from her experience with road rage.

“Do everything you can to just get out of their way because there’s nothing you can do to appease them,” she said. “When they’re that angry on the road, they’re just a danger to everybody.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Traffic & Crashes

Car accident on US189 on October 1, 2023. (Steve Fisher)...

Mary Culbertson

Police: Fatal car crash on US 189 in Provo Canyon

A fatal car accident in Provo Canyon involving a truck pulling a trailer and a semi-truck killed at least one person.

3 hours ago

A June 4, 2023 crash killed two people. Peterson Matheson, 30, was charged in with the deaths. (KSL...


Hearing for double fatal road rage suspect includes witness testimony

Witnesses to a fatal road rage crash along state Route 73 in June, testified in court Friday about what they saw.

2 days ago

emergency lights...

Larry D. Curtis

Utah cyclist killed in collision with touring bus on mountain road

A Sandy man was killed Friday after a collision with a touring bus.

2 days ago

(Utah Highway Patrol)...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko,

Semitruck driver dies after I-15 crash in Iron County, troopers say

A semitruck driver died following a crash on Interstate 15 in Iron County on Wednesday, according to Utah Highway Patrol troopers.

3 days ago

Heber police car...

Cary Schwanitz

14-year-old girl in critical condition after getting hit by SUV in Heber City

A 14-year-old girl is in critical condition after she was hit by an SUV in Heber City Wednesday morning.

4 days ago

police lights...

Cary Schwanitz

Teen girl dies in ATV crash in Uintah County

A 14-year-old girl riding an ATV died when it crashed in Uintah County Monday.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

rodeo contestant on a saddle bronc...


Get Ready for the Days of ‘47 Rodeo!

The Days of '47 Rodeo is a series of events everyone in the family can enjoy, with world-class rodeo contestants vying for the gold medal.

Electric LED Lightbulb Change In Light At Home...

Lighting Design

How to Know When to Upgrade Your Lighting

This guide explores indicators that suggest it’s time for a lighting upgrade with tips to make an informed decision when you’re ready to buy. 

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Police: Disengage and call 911 if confronted with a road rage