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How should Virginia motorists respond to an aggressive driver?

Although some accidents are caused by factors that individual drivers cannot control - such as weather conditions or vehicle failure - the majority of car accidents are caused by the drivers themselves. Negligence is the most common form of driver action that results in car accidents; a negligent driver can easily cause injury or even death. However, recklessness and aggressive drivers are also common causes of motor vehicle crashes.

In Fairfax and the rest of the metro area, aggressive drivers pose a serious threat to other motorists on the roadway. In order to have the best chance of protecting yourself against a potential auto accident caused by an aggressive driver, it is important to understand how to best respond in these situations. First and foremost, police emphasize that motorists should call the police to report the aggressive driver. While waiting for the police, other motorists should never attempt to confront, follow or stop an aggressive driver as it can make an already dangerous situation even worse.

In Virginia, there is an easy way to report an aggressive driver before he or she causes a car accident. Motorists with cell phones can dial #77, which connects them to the Virginia State Police. While other motorists should not attempt to engage an aggressive driver, it is very helpful for the police if the reporting motorist can provide a description of the vehicle, the license plate number, which direction the aggressive driver is traveling, and the current location of the dangerous driver. It may also be important for the reporting motorist to provide his or her name and contact information.

In addition to reporting the dangerous driver to the police, law enforcement recommends that motorists attempt to remain calm and unoffended during an aggressive driving situation. Drivers should avoid making eye contact with dangerous drivers and should make all efforts to get out of the way of the aggressive driver and de-escalate the situation. In situations where someone is being followed by an aggressive driver, it is best to go to a safe public place which can be used to wait for the police.

Source: Virginia.gov, "Aggressive/Reckless Driver - How to Report," accessed March 8, 2015

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