What should I do if I see an aggressive driver on the highway? Can Virginia drivers report aggressive driving?
You are headed north on I-95 when a driver speeds up behind you, nearly clips your bumper as he passes on the right, and then continues to zip through traffic. What should you do?
Your first step is to think of your own safety. Stay calm and get out of the driver’s way. Avoid any eye contact or interaction.
The next step is to report the incident. If you can, pull over to a safe spot and dial #77 from your cell phone. This number allows you to report highway situations to the Virginia State Police (VSP). The #77 code also works in DC and Maryland, but it is not universal like 911 and does not work in every state.
The dispatcher will ask for the following information:
- The vehicle description
- The vehicle’s license number (if available)
- The location where you saw the vehicle
- The vehicle’s direction of travel
- The type of reckless driving you witnessed
- Any other relevant information
The VSP will send a trooper to the reported location. Under Virginia law, a police officer must personally witness aggressive or reckless driving or have a reasonable suspicion in order to stop a vehicle.
If the law enforcement officer does not witness the aggressive driving behavior firsthand, any action taken against the aggressive driver will have to be initiated by you. Since you would have to secure a warrant for the person who committed the violation of Virginia’s traffic laws, you would have to be able to identify the driver of the other vehicle and be willing to testify in court regarding the violation. Identifying the driver may be difficult or impossible at highway speeds.
VSP also offers a cell phone app that allows you to send pictures of aggressive driving from your phone. Have a passenger take the picture.
Aggressive driving is a serious problem in northern Virginia. If you are injured by a reckless driver, you may have only your word to prove that the other driver was at fault. A witness report could provide the necessary evidence to support your case.
Don’t rely on witnesses. Lewis & Tompkins also offers an app that will help you document your crash and protect your case. Use this link to download Lewis & Tompkins' Personal Accident Report.