One driver was male, and one was female. One was from Virginia and one from Maryland. One had a knife, and one had two guns, according to D.C. police. And they sped south on the Anacostia Freeway on Saturday evening in a dramatic dance of mutual road rage, police said.

The man behind the wheel of the yellow Scion TC said the woman driving the blue Toyota RAV4 wouldn’t let him into the right lane to exit near East Capitol Street. She waved a knife through her car window, the man told D.C. police.

He brandished a gun, the woman told police in response, explaining that she could see the weapon in her rearview mirror.

The female driver stopped, forcing the man to slam on his brakes on busy Interstate 295, police said. Both got out — but without their weapons. An off-duty Prince George’s County police officer who intervened said in a report that he saw the woman punch the man in the head before intervening and separating them.

Authorities said the man had a black .380 Smith & Wesson on the driver’s side floorboard of his vehicle and a black Glock 29 in the center console. Police said the Glock had an extended clip, and both were loaded.

“Yeah, I thought she had a knife, so I showed her my gun,” the man told police, according to a charging document filed in D.C. Superior Court.

Police said they charged the man, Clyde Rolfe, 41, of Alexandria, with carrying a firearm in the District. He was released until his preliminary hearing April 29. The U.S. attorney’s office said the woman, Latonya Collins, 25, of Silver Spring, was charged with simple assault and possession of a prohibited weapon, which the office confirmed was a knife.

Rolfe’s attorney, David Benowitz, said that “not all the facts have come out,” and he’s confident that his client will be cleared. He wouldn’t comment on specifics; Rolfe, who spent 22 years in the military, told police both guns are registered.

A police supervisor praised members of the 7th District’s vice and robbery squad, who responded because they were nearby, writing on an Internet bulletin board that their quick actions did not let the situation “escalate into someone losing their life over a traffic lane position.”

Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.