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“Battle scars fighting traffic injustice”

by Prince Of Petworth February 3, 2017 at 12:30 pm 38 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

“Dear PoPville,

My little red scion of truth suffered her first battle scar yesterday after 8 years on the streets of DC. I’m a big proponent of following the rules, especially in a dense city. Dense societies need rules to function otherwise it’s just chaos. So, yesterday while driving home from work a light blue mini-van/SUV thing with Virginia plates was trying to turn right off westbound I street onto 14th St. N while they had a red light. Now traffic was already backed up into the intersection and while we still had a green light, the light ahead had not yet changed. Driving this route every day I knew the light ahead would change in time to let all the current cars in the intersection move out of the intersection before the I street traffic got their green light. This blue thing, however kept trying to push his way into the 14th street traffic in front of me.

Being the stickler for rules, I inched forward as he would leave cars behind me in the intersection after the light changed. He didn’t have right away and it would have forced other cars to block traffic; block the box. Well blue thing wasn’t having it, although he wasn’t let in there, he caught up at 14th and K and tried pushing me out of my lane. Then at Thomas Circle he sat in the hatched zone in front of the Donovan Hotel parking and zoomed into the circle trying to push me out of my lane again. He disappeared somewhere around the circle. And I assumed the petulant driver had finally ended his temper tantrum. No, he tried the same around the Rhode Island Avenue intersection and again up by R St. Seeing that I was immovable and ignoring him, he finally turned directly into me at the U and 14th intersection and then sped off eastbound down U St. I got home a few minutes later and saw a nice linear dent down the driver’s side and showed it to the responding 3rd district police officer, unfortunately I didn’t get the plates. I’m asking that anyone with additional information or plates to contact the 3rd district police. Thanks.”

  • HH

    I drive to/from the suburbs every day and absolutely sympathize with the urge to hold your ground and teach rude drivers a lesson but honestly folks, don’t engage. Let it go. Unless someone is actually paying you to enforce traffic laws. If that person is crazy enough to intentionally hit a stranger’s car who knows what else they’re crazy enough to do.

    • Anon X

      Yup! It takes two to tango and being right isn’t worth the danger you put yourself in by being a vigilante.

      I am faced with this opportunity daily and I often just let the person in because I assume they just made a mistake and aren’t trying to take advantage of people. Because it really sucks when you made an honest mistake and need to change lanes or do something and some asshole thinks they’re the traffic cop and takes it upon themselves to bring down their sense of justice.

      • FridayGirl

        This is true, but no one in their right mind would continue to go after someone who didn’t let them in…. I mean, I ride the bus and see cars not letting each other or the bus in EVERY DAY. Often multiple. OP should have been nice but other driver also was WAY out of line.

      • stacksp

        +1 Agreed….

      • Bort

        If a driver makes an “honest mistake” (e.g. miss a turn etc.), how about they just go around the block (or whatever) and try again? Isn’t it also an assh*le move for one driver to selfishly f*ck everyone else over because they don’t know what they are doing and pull something dumb like the “U-turn over a double yellow in traffic” (aka the Uber Special) or some other selfish bullsh*t that comes at the expense of others who are doing it correctly? Sometimes folks just need to own their “honest mistakes” and take a few moments of their own time to straighten it out for themselves.

        • JMR


        • Anon X

          It doesnt exactly “fuck everyone over” if you realize you’re in the wrong lane and you have to cut in line. Get over yourself and how important whatever you’re getting to is. If you cant afford a 2 second delay, you should leave earlier so your blood pressure is a bit lower. The road rage/self proclaimed traffic cop bullshit that I see is just as bad as the inconsiderate assholes that think the rules dont apply to them.

          • Bort

            Maybe it does and maybe it doesn’t, depending on the circumstances. But it seems that getting over one’s self, as you suggested, might also apply to the individual cutting in line in your example because they are in the wrong place, no?

    • FridayGirl

      To me it didn’t sound like OP was doing anything but trying to keep driving. It was the other driver who was manic. Letting someone into your lane isn’t really holding your ground, it’s just not letting them in….

    • Michael Pierce

      And you’re pretty much SOL in DC when it comes to this type of behavior, since MPD doesn’t seem to enforce traffic laws or incidents of aggressive driving at all, ever. Hell, on a weekly basis I see motorists do things like run red lights, speed and cut off others right in front of the police, who don’t respond at all.

    • TX2DC

      +1. I learned this after a lovely morning commute encounter with a psychotic Maryland driver. Yeesh, be careful.

  • Anonymous

    Just file a claim with your insurance company and pay the deductible if you want it fixed. It’ll likely be non-chargeable, unless you have a history of accidents, so don’t worry about your premium. You won’t get anywhere with the police, even if you have a license plate, because it’s not the car that’s at fault; it’s the driver. So even if you can identify the car, you can’t identify the driver. And even if you *could* identify the driver, MPD doesn’t really pursue hit-and-runs unless there is personal injury or significant property damage, which it doesn’t sound like this is. It sucks, but it’s reality.

  • Brightwoodian

    I hate to say it but road rage breads road rage. The DC metro area is high traffic. Its easy to get upset when someone fails to perform a common courtesy. BTW if the drivers in the intersection had been stuck in the intersection after the light changed, it’s their fault for blocking the box instead of waiting for room to open up and then cross the intersection. Sorry about your luck and there is no justification for the other guys behavior. But I hope you are able to demonstrate a little self reflection and see this could have been avoided if you had just been nice.

    • Brightwoodian


    • Euclid

      I don’t know if letting a person without right-of-way into traffic at the expense of those with right-of-way constitutes nice or enabling.

      • Anon

        +1. Not letting someone in who does NOT have right of way, and clearly isn’t just confused and happened to be in the wrong lane, is not bad behavior. I do not understand all of this hate.

    • stacksp


  • dcd


  • jim_ed

    Honestly, I stopped reading after seeing “traffic injustice” used in the title.

    • dcd

      That was the right approach. I should have bailed after “little red scion of truth,” but it’s Friday and I’m procrastinating.

      • Anonymous

        I’m glad a read it through because it is a reminder that there are truly crazy people out there. Me and my silver bike of obfuscation will be that much more careful on the commute home.

    • Anonymous

      I did read the whole thing and the phrase “get off the cross” kept popping into my head. Not that OP was wrong but sometimes being right isn’t important.

    • MadMax

      I skimmed it, it’s very TLDR for “anyone get footage of an accident”?

  • navyard

    Well, admittedly I do have road rage, but I absolutely side with the OP.

    If the driver intentionally hit you and then fled the scene, you should find all video footage until you can identify the car, find the driver (hopefully you got a look) and then charge that MF with assault with a deadly weapon. I honestly cannot understand where so many people have the opinion that their time is so much more important than everyone else’s.

    OP, thank you for holding your ground and trying to teach that jerk a lesson. I think we need bumper stickers that explain “I will be generous, kind, and friendly as long as you aren’t a jerk”

    • anon4

      ADW. funny.

  • wdc

    This tool engaged with you not once, not twice, but like 4-5 times? And you never got the plate? When I see an aggressive/ dangerous driver, I note the plates immediately.

    • Truxton Thomas

      Ha, I thought the same thing. It’s such a long story with numerous encounters and a detailed chronology and then the balloon completely deflates at the end.

  • Euclid

    A +2 lawful good doesn’t match well against a +5 chaotic evil…don’t pull agro on that one.

    • ParkViewneighbor


  • DaysOfThunder

    “Rubbing in racing.” DMV drivers are the worst. Hold your ground, don’t hold your ground, it doesn’t matter. It’s like the lawless wild west out there! Especially in the afternoon when everyone wants to get home, I constantly feel like I’m in the movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Just keep your cool, drive slightly (but not dangerously) aggressive, understand the ebb & flow of traffic, and try to have a little fun with it. Or, ride the bus; metro; bike; or walk.

  • Marty

    I wonder how longer it’ll be until we’re like Russia (ha!) and we all have dash-mounted cameras recording everything, just so there is some evidence in situations like this.

  • textdoc

    TLDR summary: “A light-blue minivan/SUV was being a jerk to me and repeatedly violating road rules. After the last of our interactions, I saw a dent on the driver’s side of my car. If you have the license plate or additional information, contact Third District Police.”

    • skj84

      Thanks! Got quicker to the point than the OP did.

    • Cleveland Park runner

      And with less whine and sanctimony! I’m a fan of yours, textdoc.

  • OP

    Yes, it’s a bit long but there were multiple interactions, it wasn’t necessarily for your reading enjoyment as much as for anyone traveling 14th street around 7pm last night that also remembers a completely insane driver and may have gotten the plates to pass it along to the police. No, I didn’t get the plates, I was busy trying to sing 99 luftballons to and drive home from work when this insane guy kept trying to run me off the road and then disappear. I saw him several times and could easily identify the driver but I never saw the plates because we was next to me trying to run me into other cars until he got stuck behind parked cars etc. and I was trying best to not engage. Each time I had hoped it was done and went back to my one man karaoke party. I wasn’t mad nor was I planning on making a big deal out of it, after decades in DC I’m used to self-important jerks on the road. It was the last interaction when he used his vehicle to physically damage the car that was bothersome and I would have grabbed the plates had he not sped off into traffic.

  • Anon

    If you want justice why don’t you FOIA one of the cameras on 14th street? Google FOIA request sample, edit as appropriate. Submit online. You’d need to do it today as footage is wiped regularly. You probably have a pretty narrow time window you’re requesting, they should be able to handle it without much complaint.


  • Robert

    Do not drive in the city. If you do, be prepared to pay the price.

  • Anonymouse

    So you participated in road rage and you want help? Seriously be an adult in these type of situations. If you encounter an aggressive driver, let them go past. Do not engage, acknowledge, or pursue. The other driver that you are trying to teach a lesson could end up being a psychopath.

    Look at how much of your time you must now waste when you could have just taken two seconds and let the aggressive driver go on his/her way. Grownups focus on getting to their destination safely. You are not a traffic cop nor a jury. So “being a stickler for rules” in this case made you as much a participant in road rage as the “blue thing.”

    Just drive safe and clear headed. It’s not worth it to try to be a “stickler for the rules” when doing so can result in putting yourself and your property in harms way.


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