We’ve all seen aggressive drivers on the roads around Norfolk, Virginia Beach and other Virginia and North Carolina cities. How can you spot an aggressive driver? Easy – they are the ones speeding along as though they are the only ones on the road, swerving in and out of lanes, tailgating, flashing their lights at motorists ‘in their way’, and exhibiting other dangerous and aggressive behavior. What many people don’t know is that Virginia actually has a law against aggressive driving.
The challenge for law enforcement officials is that while aggressive driving is an issue on Virginia roads and highways – especially closer to large cities like Norfolk and Virginia Beach – the aggressive driving laws are somewhat subjective and difficult to enforce. In Virginia, you can be arrested for aggressive driving if you fail to drive on the correct side of the highway, fail to drive in lanes marked for traffic, follow too closely, fail to yield the right of way, fail to obey traffic control devices, pass on the right, speed, or stop on the highway.
That’s a pretty long list and many drivers have been “guilty” of at least one of those stated transgressions. It is easy to argue against a charges like “following too closely” which is completely subjective and nearly impossible to prove. And many drivers pass on the right because it isn’t uncommon for slow drivers to ride in the far left passing lane, leaving even non-aggressive drivers with few options. The point at which these behaviors become hazardous – when they have the “intent to harass, intimidate, injure, or obstruct another person” – is hard to define.
In the absence of clear law enforcement guidelines for aggressive driving, what can you do if you see somebody whom you believe is driving in a dangerous manner? The Virginia DMV offers a few tips for what to do if you find yourself sharing the road with an aggressive driver:
- Do not react to any provocation (i.e. if they use hand gestures or flash their lights, don’t react)
- Do not engage the other driver (i.e. don’t wave at them, yell at them, or try to out-drive them)
- Don’t make eye contact
- Get away from the other driver safely
- Call local law enforcement or dial #77 if you need to report an aggressive driver on the interstate to the state police. To report an aggressive driver, note the driver’s vehicle, location, the direction of travel, and license plate number.
- If you witness a crash caused by an aggressive driver, stop a safe distance from the scene of the accident and wait for police to arrive. Report the aggressive driving behavior that you witnessed to the officer on scene.
For help with your Virginia or North Carolina car accident, please contact the personal injury attorneys at Tavss Fletcher.
555 East Main Street, 14th Floor
Norfolk, VA 23510
Telephone: (757) 625-1214
Facsimile: (757) 622-7295