How to Report a Reckless Driver

The car in front of you is weaving erratically between lanes, going excessively over the speed limit, or aggressively tailgating another vehicle. Clearly, the driver’s behavior is reckless and dangerous. But when you encounter a driver who is putting others at risk, what are you supposed to do?

Reckless driving, which is the cause of 33% of all car accidents in the United States, is when a driver displays a disregard for the rules of the road. Some common types of reckless behavior include:

  • Driving above or below the speed limit
  • Weaving between lanes or other vehicles
  • Drifting between lanes
  • Ignoring traffic lights or other signs
  • Swerving
  • Racing
  • Tailgating
  • Road rage

Reckless driving is often the result of a driver’s bad choices, like the decision to text behind the wheel or to show off to friends by speeding. Other times, drivers might drive recklessly because they are in a hurry to get to their destination or because they are taking out other frustrations on the road. But there is no excuse for dangerous driving, no matter how important that phone call is or how late they are for work.

When you encounter a reckless driver, it’s best to stay as far away from them as possible. Be extra alert around dangerous drivers—that means avoiding your phone and other distractions! — and pay attention to what is happening on the road. While the other driver might be dangerous, you can take some steps to prevent an accident by practicing your own safe driving behavior.

You can also report reckless drivers that you see on the roads. If you choose to report a reckless driver, you should first memorize some of the details about their vehicle. Along with trying to find out the make and model, look for details such as:

  • License plate number
  • State their license plate is from
  • Car’s color
  • Bumper stickers or other decor
  • Number of doors
  • How many people are in the car

It is also helpful to find out your location on the road, so that you can let authorities know exactly where the reckless driver is. You can do this by looking for mile markers, intersections, or prominent landmarks.

If you have a passenger with you, have them write down any identifying important. If possible they should try to get a picture of the offending vehicle. Do not try to write down notes or take pictures if you are driving, because that could be a distraction from your own driving.

Next, have your passenger call to report the car. If you do not have a passenger, pull over to a safe area before making the call.  Call 911 to report the issue if you feel that there is an immediate threat. If you don’t think that there is immediate danger, you can call a non-emergency line. Non-emergency lines can take a bit longer and the reaction might not be immediate, which is why 911 is the better option if you think lives are in danger.

When putting in your call to 911 or the non-emergency line, give them all the information you have about the car, the driver’s behavior, and the location. Give as a many details as you can, since this will help authorities find the driver.

Calling 911 or an emergency line is always the best option when it comes to reckless drivers. Do not attempt to solve an issue on your own by following or confronting the driver. If they react angrily or have a weapon in their car, it could quickly escalate to a fatal confrontation.

By reporting reckless drivers—and of course,  by following the rules of the road—you can do your part to keep the roads safe!


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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