It’s time we have a conversation about aggressive driving.

By definition, aggressive driving is “The commission of two or more moving violations that is likely to endanger other persons or property, or any single intentional violation that requires a defensive reaction of another driver.” Or in other terms, it’s risky driving behavior that can potentially escalate to serious violence.

So what should you do if you see an aggressive driver on the road? Washington State Patrol (WSP) Sergeant James Prouty says “Incidents in-progress should immediately be reported by calling 9-1-1.

The reduction in incidents of road rage and aggressive driving is critical to the mission of the WSP. While troopers and other law enforcement agencies are always on the lookout for aggressive driving, experience has shown that significant steps to improve traffic safety in this nation are made when citizens act. So if you do see an aggressive driver out on Washington roadways, please be sure to call 9-1-1.

However, incidents in the past – including ongoing or reoccurring patterns of aggressive driving on state or interstate highways – should be reported to the Washington State Patrol district office (contact info: here) responsible for that area. If you have witnessed or been a victim of an aggressive driving act, please call your local office and provide the following information:

  • The location that you last saw the vehicle
  • Plate number (if known)
  • Direction of travel (toward where)
  • What road or highway
  • Color/colors of the vehicles
  • Were weapons involved
  • What happened
  • Are you a victim or a witness

Sergeant Prouty adds, “As always, be aware of what’s going on around you. That includes looking for signs of aggressive drivers.”

Some signs are:

  • Following too close
  • Speeding
  • Weaving in and out of traffic
  • Speeding up to beat a traffic light
  • Cutting between vehicles to change lanes
  • Using the horn excessively
  • Flashing headlights excessively
  • Braking to get others to back off
  • Passing another driver and then slowing to teach them a lesson

If you are confronted by an aggressive driver:

  • Make every attempt to get out of the way
  • Put pride in the back seat. Do not challenge him or her by speeding up or attempting to “hold-your-own” in your travel lane
  • Wear your seat belt
  • Ignore gestures and don’t return them
  • Correct any unsafe driving habits that may provoke other drivers

While we rely on the public’s help to locate aggressive drivers, be assured the WSP Aggressive Driving Apprehension Team (ADAT) is always on patrol. The ADAT program uses unmarked/unconventional police vehicles equipped with mobile video cameras to detect and apprehend aggressive drivers. For more information on ADAT click here.