You’re driving down the road in your car or on your motorcycle. All of a sudden a car comes flying up behind you, laying on its horn and blowing by you in the passing lane. It cuts you off, forcing you to slow down dramatically, and hovers in front of you controlling the way you can drive. You have run into an aggressive driver.
Some people get behind the wheel and focus on the task at hand. They obey the rules of the road and they tend to themselves. Others get behind the wheel and pretend that they are on a racetrack, driving in a way that puts not only themselves but others in danger. Here is how to respond (or not respond) to an encounter with an aggressive driver.
1. Don’t Make Gestures
Let’s be honest: If you are the victim of an aggressive driver, you have every right to lose your cool. But don’t give in to your first impulses. Chances are that flashing your high beams, blaring your horn or making hand gestures is only going to inflame the other driver and make the situation worse.
2. Move Over
If you can safely get in a different lane of travel, do so. This is clearly easier to do if you are on a highway and not a city street. Signal with your blinker and move to another lane when it is safe. You don’t want to put anyone else at risk by cutting them off. Giving the aggressive driver plenty of room may get them to leave you alone.
3. Leave Room for Yourself
Aggressive drivers seem to be more agitated during rush hour when cars are sitting bumper-to-bumper on the highway. Most of us creep up to the car in front of us, leaving very little room should we need to maneuver. If you have been met with an aggressive driver, always plan to leave yourself as much space as is reasonably possible. Instead of creeping up on the car in front of you, leave yourself some room to move.
4. Don’t Look
Don’t make eye contact with the aggressive driver. Your goal is to diffuse the situation, and you don’t know what making eye contact will do. In many cases, it only serves to challenge the other driver and make matters worse.
5. Call 911
If you have done everything you can to avoid and deescalate the aggressive driver, your last option is to call 911. You will need to know your location and, hopefully, the license plate number of the offending driver. Let the police handle the situation like they are trained to do.
If you are involved in a vehicle collision in Charlotte or elsewhere in the Carolinas, reach out to our office. We will help you arrange a case evaluation and advise you of your rights. Call today for assistance and learn more about your legal options for compensation.