PoPville PSA – Report Aggressive Driving

Photo by PoPville flickr user zxgirl

“Dear PoP,

This morning I had a blood-pressure-raising drive to work. I usually take the Metro, so driving is a treat for me as it cuts my commute time in half. I jumped onto Rock Creek Parkway and was targeted by some d-bag in a light blue sportscar. He proceeded to tailgate me, cut me off then slam on the breaks, stop in the middle of fast-paced Rock Creek Parkway at 7:15am in the morning–just a real jerk–and it felt like he was targeting me, from DC to Virginia. I made a mental snapshot of the description of his car and plate number (Maryland driver, obviously), and jumped online when I got to work. Turns out, Maryland, DC, and Virginia have a safe driving campaign called Smooth Operator. It tells you to call #77 — did that and reported this guy. Since the trooper didn’t see this incident, I’d have to go to court, get subpoenas and all that jazz (the last thing I need is to be a witness and have this guy target me again, but I don’t want him to do this to other people).

So, because he’s got Maryland tags, and the incidents occurred in DC and Virginia, I’m not sure where to turn next. I’m worried that this guy’s aggression is going to hurt someone–just this morning he nearly caused 3 accidents.

If anything, be safe out there and call #77 if you spot an aggressive driver. Those Maryland drivers are batsh*t crazy.”

Anyone ever have success reporting dangerous aggressive driving?

77 Comment

  • You sound like a real piece of work yourself.

    “Maryland driver obviously”. That makes me want to cut you off and slam on my brakes.

  • From the Smooth Operator website:

    When encountering an aggressive driver, stay calm, keep your distance from that driver, do not return gestures and remember not to take it personally.”

  • Interesting that they have this program and all you have to do is call #77.

    Of course, unless you have a police officer in the front seat with you, you have to do all the work yourself (get subpoenas, etc). I wonder what purpose the program serves, other than for politicians to feel good that they *have a program!*

    I’m not suggesting that the owner of the reported car should be immediately located and hauled into jail, but i’d think that after the 5th report of careless driving, there could be some intervention – even if it’s just a personal visit from the local police to introduce themselves to you one evening at home.

  • I hate aggressive drivers, but this guy doesn’t sound too bad. I’ve had someone get out of their car and start screaming and pounding on my window because I had the nerve to slow down and stop at an almost-red light. I know others that have been shot at by an aggressive driver. This just sounds like run-of-the-mill asshattery.

  • “Jumped onto Rock Creek Park”…Did you cut off someone? People don’t just behave like that on the road unless they are provoked. I am sure you are leaving something out and there is another side to this story. “Targeted”, please.

    • “People don’t just behave like that on the road unless they are provoked.”

      Some do.

    • Exactly. there’s more to this story than we’re hearing.

      • even if he did cut someone off it doesn’t mean the other car had the right to endanger everyone else around him (or her). We’ve all made driving errors, including cutting people of when we merge onto highways, and I’d like to think a mistake doesn’t automatically mean someone can kill me and everyone in my car (and possibly other cars) in retaliation.

    • Or they think you’ve cut them off. I cannot tell you how many times someone thinks they don’t have to follow a yield sign and then get all pissy when the driver with the right of way takes it.

  • “I usually take the Metro, so driving is a treat for me as it cuts my commute time in half.”

    Key words. Driving during rush hour is not a treat; it is a necessity for many people who don’t have the luxury of taking the metro. If you’re not used to rush hour traffic you probably should stay off major corridors like RC Pkwy until you get accustomed to sharing the road with seasoned commuters.

    • ahh…PoP. we love to blame the victim.

      • not blaming. It’s a statement of fact and good advice, to boot: if you’re not comfortable driving in rush hour traffic through DC, then Rock Creek at 7:15am is the *wrong* place for you to bone up.

    • It’s also a privilege for those self-entitled pricks who choose to live in the suburbs to avoid the riffraff because they can afford parking, gas, and insurance, not to mention the vehicle itself.

      • Usually (though by no means always) it’s cheaper to live in the suburbs and have a car. Living near public transit ain’t cheap, nor is the public transit itself.

  • DC drivers are among the worst. You have either elderly people driving big ol’ Cadillacs who barely creep along at 20 in the left lane, or you have the young thugs driving ex-police cars driving erratically, who will get in the right curb lane at a red light in order to jump ahead of you once the light turns green. Oh, and you also have the ZIP car drivers, who are only occasional drivers, and tend to be overly cautious (afraid) to be behind the wheel of a large machine. There are bad drivers everywhere, not just Murlin!

    • Or people who usually take the metro and are inexperienced with driving on parkways, and feel the need to complain to a blog about their harrowing experience when it happens.

      • The Rock Creek Parkway is what, a 35 mph speed limit? How exactly could that POSSIBLY be harrowing unless someone wa acting like a complete ass?

  • “Fast-paced Rock Creek Parkway”? Isn’t the speed limit on the Parkway like 35 mph at best? (Not that I believe everyone – or anyone – actually obeys it.)

    • Yeah, it’s 35, but I drive it every day during rush hour and the average speed is usually more like 45-50. I enjoy driving this fast, but at the same time I realize it’s not safe. Speed cameras would take care of the problem, but the parkway is under NPS jurisdiction, and I don’t know if they do speed cameras at all.

      • I drive it at 35 – and watch my rear view window to see if I see a car zipping up behind me. I’ll them make sure that I’m along side another car so that there is no room to pass us.

        • And you wonder why there are aggressive drivers. You’re probably also the ahole who drives in the left lane at 55 MPH on the Beltway to “teach us all a lesson.” Stupidity like this is what gets you and innocent bystanders killed. Drive with the flow of traffic or don’t drive.

          Regarding the initial incident, I’d also like to hear this account from this horrible Maryland driver in the blue car. For someone to stop in the middle of the road to make a point means yes, you surely were targeted and probably rightfully so. My guess is that you the uncommon DC commuter blew a stop sign getting onto the parkway, nearly caused a 5 car pile-up, the blue car swerved into oncoming traffic and nearly died, and you still were too busy rocking out to Morning Edition to notice.

          • Annony was likely being sarcastic.

            It amazes that you’ve taken the original poster’s story and not only determined that he was probably *rightfully* targeted, but constructed the entire scenario around which it happened. How gifted you are!

    • If you actually drive 35 on RCP in the morning, you are likely to get aggressively tailed by 80% of the people driving on it.

  • I really appreciate the PSA, and am sympathetic that the author had such an unpleasant experience.

    I do think, however, that the author did him/herself a disservice by throwing in a lot of unnecessary cheap shots about MD drivers and whatnot. I was predicting the backlash comments before I even finished reading the post.

    Let’s face it, there are crap drivers everywhere. I’m glad to know the program exists – perhaps it may even develop in some way so that the “proof” process will be less burdensome.

    • +1 well said.

    • +10000000

      Folks should spend some time in MD watching drivers from DC and VA; then go to VA and watch drivers from DC and MD; then go to DC and watch drivers from MD and VA. There are crap drivers everywhere, and yes, often they are the drivers from other jurisdictions, but not always. Go figure.

    • They also did themselves a disservice with their victim mentality and by whining about the problem but demonstrating they are unwilling to d omuch about it.

      • What do you mean by “unwilling to do much about it”? I don’t see that there is much you can do about it apart from report the driver.

        • And they don’t feel like doing that…

          • The letter says that they did that.

          • The way I read it they made the call but didn’t complete the reporting process because they didn’t want to go to court.

          • It sounds to me like they’re willing to file a report only if it requires no more than a phone call or email. If that’s all it took to report someone, drivers would be charged with reckless driving for all sorts of petty reasons.

    • Right, it was unnecessary to turn it into a MD vs. DC thing, but to be quite honest, I can relate. I think people tend to treat their home turf much better, so it’s probably true that MD drivers are worse offenders in DC and visa versa. Like this one guy yesterday, driving all over the bike lane to get past me. Seemed furious where I let a bus in. Then when he finally gets past me to the next intersection, he pauses for a full 5 seconds blocking 2 lanes as he decides whether this is the street he wants to take. I had to honk. I just think that he wouldn’t be doing that in his own neighborhood in the state that his car’s registered in. Commuters drive more aggresively than people who’re just picking up some groceries at Whole Foods or going to the bank or whatever.

  • Sorry your intended joyride was not so joyful. You’ll probably have better luck if you do it on a weekend or something.

  • Rock Creek Parkway is a 2 lane road (4 lanes during rush hour). That leaves plenty of room for you to move over a lane and allow someone to pass. If someone wants to drive faster than you do and are in the left lane, let them. Firstly, they will be ahead of you and thus will not be endangering others by trying to swerve around you. Secondly, they will get caught by the police before you do.

    This may not prevent roadrage all together, but moving over for a second will definitely reduce your stress level….

    • “Secondly, they will get caught by the police before you do.”

      I don’t think that’s true– police usually like to pluck the last duck form the row because it’s easiest– but I agree with everything else you’ve said.

    • Agreed. I’m not an aggressive driver by any stretch of the imaginiation… but it really irks me when someone is driving in the left lane and is NOT actively passing. That behavior can actually cause traffic jamitons to build up behind them.

      Don’t take it personally when someone wants to pass you. Just pull over and let them go already. Then you can enjoy your casual morning drive… in the middle lane.

      • This bad behavior seems far more common in the DC area than anywhere else I’ve ever driven. There’s always someone going slower in the left lane than the people behind them would otherwise be going, even when there’s plenty of space for them to move into the right lane. It’s selfish, rude, and often the cause of road rage.

        • Not to mention it’s indicitive of a cluelessness and lack of awareness that is disturbing.

        • I actually agree that this is very poor driving practice but it is unfair to say it is the cause of road rage. Road rage is caused by an inability to cope – if your daily commute leads you to rage or violence then what you need is to check yourself, not for other people to get out of your way.

          Not to mention the fact that lots of road around here like the RCP have entrances/exits on the left lane, so speeding in the left lane is actually kind of dangerous.

          • Ahh, I see, so you’re one of those left-lane creepers!

          • I stay to the right unless I’m passing someone or need to turn/exit from the left lane.

            As I said above I think that left-lane cruising is poor driving practice, but road rage is infinitely worse driving practice.

  • Which driver in the picture was the aggressive driver?

  • There are definitely REALLY bad drivers around here from VA, DC, & MD. But in my experience, MD drivers seem to be the most aggressive and reckless overall.

    • Anything that EVER says one states drivers are worse than another is based on prejudice, ignorance, and anecdotal evidence. Just sayin’….

  • In reference to this state vs. state thing: I honestly think it’s simply boils down to what you find familiar. If I live in MD and deal with their driving skills daily, then I become accostomed to their antics and adapt my driving skills accordingly. DC and VA people do the same thing. Crazy breeds crazy. But when a new kind of crazy gets thrown into the mix, I take notice. I personally feel no state drives any worse than the other. We’re too close to together for driving skills to really vary that drastically.

    I do think the OP did themselves a true disservice by focusing on where the driver’s license plates were from. Funny thing is, if the driver was from Ohio (or some other state outside the DMV), the writer wouldn’t have said “They were from Ohio, obviously”. It just served to draw attention away from the issue at hand.

    If someone is driving ridiculously crazy in front of me… I keep a safe distance away from them. If they’re behind me, I let them pass. It’s that simple.

  • So many bitter commuters! This makes me even more thrilled I got rid of my car.

  • DC ranks among the worst cities in the so-called industrialized world. The people here are awful, nasty, unpleasant human beings at the best of times, plus there’s a cultural legacy of criminality, and the police service here is wholly ineffectual and incompetent. People can do pretty much whatever they want, with the *possible* exception of murder, and never have to face consequences.

    This is about as unsurprising as water being wet.

    • Uh, seriously? I suspect you haven’t spent much time in other cities. But if you do hate it here so much you might want to consider moving.

      • Yup, seriously. I’ve lived in half a dozen cities in both the US and other countries – including one that would be classified as the “developing world,” and never have I found a more dysfunctional, nastier, more dangerous place than DC.

        And, following confirmation of a work transfer, I gave notice at my apartment and will be leaving this benighted hellhole within weeks. I assure you I haven’t felt this happy in years.

        • It could be you haven’t spent enough time here to really get what DC is all about. I wasn’t crazy about this place my first couple of years in, and I know others who had similar experiences. DC’s charm has a tendency to unfurl itself slowly.

          On the other hand, this city is not for everyone (just like my native NYC never really appealed to me) and you could just be one of those people. Regardless, happy trails.

        • You have to question the judgement of someone who has a habit of moving from one city to another. If you want safety and smiling faces, a small-town community might be more your speed.

          • No, a small-town community is definitely not my speed.

            I can get safety and smiling faces in NY, which is where I’m going. I lived there prior to grad school, and believe me – the people are actually much nicer. The crime is also waaaaay lower than in DC, and – wonder of wonders – drivers for the most part don’t actively try to murder pedestrians.

            DCers make NYers look like a Montessori kindergarten.

    • Clearly you’ve never been to Boston…..

    • Wow, so in other words, you have essentially no idea what you’re talking about. Right?

  • Start a tattle-tale website. Post the car description and plate numbers. I want to start one of all the dog owners who don’t pick up their dog’s shit. Makes dog owners like me look bad.

    • I agree with you, Gonzo. It drives me crazy that some owners won’t pick up after their pooches. And you’re right–it does make responsible pet owners look bad.

  • I don’t see any real difference between the states. I’ve seen aggression in each of them and aggressive people from each of them – and seen people go 110 or so on both the GW Parkway and the BW Parkway. There isn’t a monopoly on asshattery.

    But I do think it’s interesting that so many folks here think aggressive driving is totally okay as long as the driver shows a very minor amount of bias – I hope you feel that way when your parent or loved one gets into an accident because someone else was driving aggressively because say, they had the audacity to be in the right lane or go the speed limit.

    WTF is wrong with you?

    • Obviously the victim thinks it’s okay too. Otherwise he/she would testify so this dangerous driver can be removed form the streets.

  • I’ve had a lot of problems with women drivers lately. I know there’s a number to call for bad DC drivers, but what about a number to call for bad female drivers?

    Also, what’s the deal with those Vietnamese/Ethiopian/Salvadoran drivers? Those guys are the worst, but don’t get me started on yuppies in priuses or hicks from West Virginia in work trucks.

    Basically, is there a number to report people from groups I don’t belong to who happen to be driving near me on Rock Creek Park? I’d really like to call that number a bunch of times while swerving through the tunnel by the Zoo and cut a bunch of people off while reporting in on everybody who doesn’t look like me.

    If you see somethin’, say something’!

    • How about a number to report people with nicer cars than mine who happen to be driving near me?

  • wah wah wah… listen, too many drivers out there have no clue what they are doing and drive either too slow, don’t pay attention to lights, or clearly failed the driving test years ago. Get over it and move on. you’re probably the cause anyways

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