How to Handle Dangerous Drivers on Urban Streets
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How to Handle Dangerous Drivers on Urban Streets

Urban environments present many unique challenges for drivers. Frequent turns, congestion, and a higher number of vehicles on the road increase the risk of encountering aggressive or dangerous drivers.

In many cases, dangerous driving is capable of causing significant motor vehicle collisions in urban areas. Knowing how to respond when you encounter a dangerous driver can keep you and your loved ones safe the next time you hit the road.

Recognizing Dangerous Driving

The first step to ensuring your safety is recognizing the signs of dangerous or aggressive driving. Some common warning signs of dangerous driving include:

  • Speeding;
  • Weaving through traffic;
  • Improper use of turn signals;
  • Tailgating or brake-checking;
  • Obscene gestures or foul language directed at other drivers;
  • Disregard for traffic signals, such as red lights or stop signs.

Keep an eye out for drivers that are making lane changes without signalling, appear to be losing control of their car, or are making other erratic manuevers for no apparent reason.

It would help if you also were alert for signs of impairment, such as swerving, slow reaction times, or vehicles that don’t have headlights on at night.

Anytime you suspect that a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, approach the situation with more caution than usual. 

Immediate Actions to Take to Ensure Your SafetyImmediate Actions to Take to Ensure Your Safety

As soon as you recognize an aggressive driver in your vicinity, you need to take appropriate action to protect yourself and your vehicle’s occupants.

To begin with, increase the distance between your car and the other drivers if you can do so safely.

A safe buffer zone gives you more time to react if the other vehicles make an unexpected maneuver or brake abruptly.

While increasing the space between the two vehicles, do not attempt to engage with the other driver.

You should not make make eye contact, respond with gestures, or even attempt to communicate with the angry motorist. This can make the situation more dangerous for everyone involved. 

If it is possible to adjust your route to stay away from the dangerous driver, do so. You can slow down to a safe speed, change lanes, or even consider taking an alternate route if there is one.

Getting to your destination on time is not worth putting the lives of your vehicle’s occupants at risk. 

Reporting the Incident

Not all encounters with dangerous drivers need to be reported to law enforcement. You need to use your judgment to evaluate the severity of the situation.

If the other driver is behaving extremely dangerously, seems impaired, or is a clear threat to the public, call 911 right away to report them. When you get a police dispatcher on the line, give them the vehicle’s make, model, and license plate number.

Explain what you witnessed and where you were when the incident occurred. 

Technology can be incredibly helpful if you encounter an aggressive driver. If your car has a dashcam, provide a copy of the footage to law enforcement as evidence. Some smartphone apps allow you to report aggressive driving directly to law enforcement, so this may be an option for you as well.

Post-Incident Steps to Follow

After encountering a dangerous driver, take a moment to collect yourself. It’s completely normal to feel anxious, stressed, or worried after encountering an aggressive motorist.

Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing may help you regain your composure. If you reported the incident, be sure to fully cooperate with law enforcement so that they get all the information they need to follow up on your report. 

Finally, you may consider reflecting on the experience as a whole. Consider what caused the situation and how you can recognize similar dangers in the future. Using this situation as a learning experience, you can reduce the chances of experiencing a similar issue. 

Staying Safe From Dangerous & Aggressive Drivers

All motorists should know how to react to dangerous drivers. When you prioritize your safety, remain calm, and take appropriate actions, you can significantly reduce your chances of getting into a collision caused by a dangerous driver.

By driving responsibly and reporting drivers that are a threat to other motorists, you do your part to make the road safer for everyone using it.

For additional resources on avoiding dangerous drivers, you may consider looking into the resources available through your local Department of Motor Vehicles.  

Article by

Alla Levin

Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures.

About Author

Alla Levin

Hi, I’m Alla, a Seattle business and lifestyle content creator who can’t get enough of business innovations, arts, not ordinary people and adventures. My mission is to help you grow in your creativity, travel the world, and live life to the absolute fullest!


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