Road Rage

Sometimes when people tailgate me I will slow down just so they stop, but in general I’m a pretty courteous driver. In this case I made a guy really mad even though I wasn’t trying to and he took the most aggressive retaliation of anyone I’ve ever come across. Once he was in front of me I wished I had gotten his license plate so I could report him and I sped up to catch up with him before realizing I was being pretty stupid. But as traffic got more congested closer to Atlanta, I actually caught up with him and passed him anyway and got his license. But then what do you do with it? I found a website called and reported him, but that doesn’t really do any good. So I sent a description of his car and his license plate to both the Georgia State Patrol and the Florida Highway Patrol. I doubt they will do anything, but I suggested they send a letter to the guy just to say he had been reported.

I’ve always thought it would be a good idea to have some kind of traffic posse where the police deputize private citizens to report bad driving. As I envision it you would have to attend a day-long class about rules of the road and rules of the program and then you could report one person a month (maybe more). While no one would receive tickets when they were reported, they would receive a letter describing the infraction and a note would be made to that person’s file so that if the police ever pulled the guy over they could see a list of citizen complaints about him and realize he deserves to have the book thrown at him.

Anyway, here’s the letter I wrote:

Dear Sirs,

I am writing to make you aware of a road rage type of incident that occurred to me earlier today. I am not pressing charges, but I hope that by making you aware of the incident that such a letter as this will help establish a pattern of aggressive driving by the driver that might weigh on a future decision to decline leniency on the driver or support anyone else who is victimized by this driver.

I was driving northbound on I-75 today at about noon near McDonough, Georgia in the left lane. While I do not typically stay long in that lane, there was a truck in the center lane trying to pass slower traffic in the right lane and I was trying to stay clear of that. During this time a car caught up with me and began tailgating very close even though I was moving at or above the speed limit and with the general flow of traffic (the truck next to me was sometimes ahead and sometimes behind me depending on whether we were going up a hill). Since I did not want to increase my speed any further (I was on cruise control at the time, so I was not playing games with the car behind me), the car passed me on the right while the truck was ahead of me which also prevented me from moving to the center lane to get out of his way.

To teach me a lesson, I suppose, when the van had just passed my front bumper the driver lurched suddenly and deliberately from the center lane in front of me as if to sideswipe me or force me to run into the back of his car. At approximately 70 mph the van nearly clipped my car, missing my bumper by no more than a foot or two. I took evasive action and the car continued at a high rate of speed ahead of me. However I did get the license plate of the car. Florida plates ### ***. I do not know the make, model, or year of the vehicle but it was a dark red minivan.

I hope that there is some resource the state patrol can make use of to record accounts of bad driving, perhaps sending a written notification to the driver to avoid dangerous, highly aggressive driving in the future. Thank you for your attention in this matter.

8 thoughts on “Road Rage

  1. Ted, there is always hope for a perfect world. I admire that you would go to so much trouble writing a letter and then posting all of this to the blog. I just hope nobody sees it who knows the guy or he might come after you.


  2. I got a call from a Florida Highway Patrol officer today who had received my letter. He said they would look up the guy’s phone number based on the license plate number I gave them and talk to him. He also mentioned that I could have used my cell phone to call *FHP in Florida or *GSP in Georgia to see if the State Patrol had someone in the area who could pull the guy over. That was as much as I could hope for and it is much better than trying to retaliate on the highway somehow.

  3. This week I got a letter from the Georgia Department of Public Safety. It says:

    I’m sorry that you have experienced such an incident on a Georgia Interstate. The tag information that you provided enabled us to identify a vehicle that matched your description. Unfortunately, the tag information only tells us who the owner of the vehicle is; it does not identify who the driver at the time of the incident might have been. Without accurate knowledge of the identity of the driver, we are not able to take any enforcement action. No one wants to be wrongfully accused and no one wants to make a wrongful accusation.

    In the future, if you find yourself in such a situation and have access to a cell phone, dial *GSP (*477). This will put you in contact with the nearest patrol post and they will be able to direct a trooper to assist you and take enforcement action against such behavior.

    If there is anything that I can do to further assist you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

  4. If you had reported the tag number in a bank robbery, they would have been glad to jump all over it. I think they should call the owner and caution them on the complaint.

  5. That’s what Florida said they would do. I think if Geogia called the owner or wrote the owner a letter that would be sufficient. If it was a company-owned van or had been borrowed then the owner would do something. Otherwise at least they would know they were being watched. I should have made it more clear in my letter that that is what I wanted, but I only mentioned it at the very end.

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