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Aggressive Drivers

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Aggressive Drivers

Gus Philpott
Woodstock Advocate
December 22, 2007

What do you do, when you are followed by an aggressive driver?

Let's say you are driving on an interstate highway. You are traveling the speed limit in the right lane. A truck driver behind you wants to go faster, but you are on a stretch of roadway where truckers are prohibited from using the second (or passing) lane. The truck driver comes up behind your car with 4-5 feet. Remember now; you are traveling 55MPH.

If you take your foot off the gas, will he slow before hitting you? If your car malfunctions or has a flat tire, will he hit you at 55MPH? Add it that the Truck Speed Limit is 50MPH on this stretch of roadway. Then the truck driver begins blowing his horn, as if that will make you speed up.

This actually happened to me on Friday, when I was driving east on I-40 approaching Asheville, N.C. As soon as the truck lane restriction ended, the truck driver tried to pass me on an upgrade, while I maintained 55MPH on Cruise Control. As he pulled alongside, I was able to read the name of the company on the side of the truck, its location, and the truck unit number.

He had to drop back because of the grade, but then he passed me going down the next hill. By that time I had gotten the company's telephone number from 800/FREE-411 and was dialing them. I left a message for the Traffic Safety Manager with all the details, and I suspect the driver had a surprise waiting for him when he pulled into the company lot just south of Asheville.

The truck belonged to an electrical contracting company and was one of three vehicles that had gone to Oklahoma to help with downed power lines.

Calling an employer of a reckless commercial driver is likely to solve the problem, because employers fear huge insurance premium rate increases, if a driver gets into a serious accident.

If this happens to you, get the name of the company, city & state, phone number if it's there, truck unit number and license plate. Having a tape recorder in the car helps; then you don't have to write all this down while you are driving. Call and speak with the Safety Manager or the president of the company, or his assistant.

Or, if you see the placard for calling 800-2-ADVISE, get as much detail as you can, including the ID number on the placard, license plate, company name. You'll need the location, such as on what roadway you were traveling and in or near what city or town.

Be sure to call.

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