Crime

Traffic Q&A: Deal with aggressive driver by calling 911, finding busy, public place

Question: I already know the typical answer from law enforcement — use your cellphone. But when you’re being harassed by another driver, all you care about is getting away from them.

Case in point: I’m driving the speed limit on River Road headed toward Tacoma. There’s a car behind me flashing lights, honking and tailgating. I move over to another lane to let him pass, but he still follows me.

Now my wife is scared. So I speed up to get away and zoom by a traffic camera.

He finally drives away, leaving both my wife and I dazed.

Now I have a speeding ticket to deal with from the camera. I was in a rural area; it would have taken the police time to reach us, and by then it probably would have been too late.

Did I do the right thing and speed up? Should I have slowed down and possibly made him angrier? There’s no way I’m going to pull over and stop. Any advice? — Glenn Waldron, Tacoma

Answer: Sorry about the speeding ticket, Glenn, but it’s not a good idea to try to outrun an aggressive driver. They’re charged up, and chances are a race will just incite them further.

Slowing down is not such a hot idea either, especially if he could interpret it as intentionally trying to aggravate him.

The best thing is to just maintain your speed. Obey all the laws and and don’t respond to him at all. Avoid eye contact — looking directly at him makes it more personal.

You were right not to pull over and stop. If you do have to stop, don’t get out of your car. You’re safer inside. Lock your doors.

The law enforcement advice is good: Use your phone and call 911 if it gets really ugly. Just seeing you on your phone might make the other driver think about consequences.

Here’s another idea: Head for a busy, public place where you’ll have witnesses. Honk your horn to draw attention.

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