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Officer advises backing off

July 07, 2006

Aggressive drivers can become more aggressive if egged on by other motorists, Washington County Sheriff's Department Major Randy Wilkinson said.

Wilkinson said there are many ways drivers can ensure safe travel in the presence of aggressive drivers.

"Certainly, the first and the foremost thing is not to react in the same manner that they do," he said.

If a driver is passed by another driver or cut off, that driver should not tailgate the aggressor or keep pace with the vehicle.

"Just completely back off," Wilkinson said.

A driver who keeps pace with another driver might be looking for eye contact, which Wilkinson said is "a big no-no."

When another driver begins to drive side by side, the best thing is to "drop back," Wilkinson said. "Even if you have to turn off to avoid them, do that."

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If a driver gets more aggressive or begins to follow, Wilkinson suggests going to a safe, well-lighted public place, such as a convenience store or, better yet, a police department.

"If it's someone who wants to confront you and you stop, you elevate the situation," he said.

Wilkinson said people can call police and report aggressive drivers, giving an officer the opportunity to confront that driver and evaluate the problem.

Of course, giving another driver the finger or some other hand gesture is not a good idea, Wilkinson said.

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