A body language expert says a driver’s tendency to make a “distancing zap” to the back of a vehicle can be used to spot them, the Associated Press reports.
“Distancing zaps” are when a driver approaches a vehicle in a way that makes it appear they are approaching the vehicle from the front or rear, the AP reports.
They can be seen by other drivers and also by other people who pass by.
They were first noticed in 2017.
Now, in the new report, researchers from Cornell University said the zapping could be more common than previously believed.
The AP reports that researchers found that in 2017, there were 954 “distances zaps,” with one in four of them involving an Uber.
Of those, a total of 568 involved drivers who were driving for a non-Uber company.
“When it comes to identifying drivers with a tendency to zap, we think that the driver has an extreme sense of entitlement that might lead them to react inappropriately,” study author Jonathan Zolotow told the AP.
“We want to understand what the drivers are thinking when they’re zapping a car.”
The study found that drivers who zapped to a rear-facing car were “more likely to make the zap toward a rear driver, with a rear zap leading to a driver approaching a rear vehicle.”
In other words, drivers who do zapping to a front-facing vehicle might be driving toward a driver in a rear car.
Researchers noted that the more zapping drivers did to a vehicle, the more likely they were to zapper to a back-facing driver, as well.
“The driver who zaps to the rear is more likely to do so if the driver zaps toward the rear and they’re both approaching from the rear, as opposed to if the zapper zaps from the side,” Zolott told the Associated News.
“There’s no such thing as a safe zap for a driver.”
The AP noted that when drivers zap to a car, they may zap the front of the vehicle as well, as drivers might think it’s a safety hazard, but it could also be a sign that they’re approaching from behind.
The zapping can happen when drivers are trying to “look good” in front of a camera or by zapping into the camera.