Too Close for Comfort: What to do if Someone is Following You
Have you ever cut someone off in traffic? While it’s important to stay alert on the roads, this is something that almost everyone has done at least once. Oftentimes, the issue can be remedied with an apologetic wave or other acknowledgment of the mistake.
Some people, on the other hand, don’t take basic roadway incidents so well. In fact, half of drivers on the receiving end of aggressive driving behavior report that they retaliate with aggressive behavior themselves. These drivers admitted to retaliating with actions like honking their horn, rude gestures, or even following the other driver. This kind of behavior, commonly known as road rage, leads to 60% of traffic fatalities in the United States, according to the American Safety Council. Making matters worse, many drivers now carry guns or other weapons in their cars. This can escalate a road incident into a fatal confrontation if one driver follows another to their home or other destination.
To avoid a dangerous confrontation, it’s critical to stay calm and level-headed if you think an irate driver is following you. The impulse may be to speed away, but it’s actually better to stay at your same speed, or even slow down a bit. This will give you time to think.
Assess the Situation
It also gives you a chance to see if someone is actually following you. If you slow down and the other car continues to drive closely behind you, it’s likely that they are trying to follow you. Take an exit off the highway and then get back on again, or take a few left turns in a row. This will help determine if someone is really following you, or if they just coincidentally happened to go in the same direction.
If you feel that you are in immediate danger, call the police. Let them know where you are and what is happening, and follow their instructions on what to do next. If you have to pull over to make the call, pull over to a safe, public location, like a brightly lit parking lot. Even better, pull into a police station, fire station, or hospital parking lot if given the opportunity. While making the call, stay in your car with the doors locked.
Calling 911 is the best solution. If you do decide to keep driving on your own, try to change up your routine. Instead of going straight home or to your next destination, stop in a crowded place, just as you would if you were pulling over to call 911. This way, the follower will not know where you live or work, and there will be plenty of witnesses around should a violent incident arise. If you get out of your car, only do so in a public, well-lit area, and make sure someone walks you back to your vehicle later.
To avoid a dangerous confrontation with an angry driver, simply stay calm and controlled. Don’t try to engage with them by making eye contact or rude gestures, no matter how tempting it is. Call 911 and seek help that another person is following you — trust your instincts, and you can keep a road rage incident from turning into something deadly.
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.