The latest viral video sensation, courtesy of would-be good samaritan Sean Symons, demonstrates the all-too-common outcome of drunk, drowsy or distracted driving. However, attempting to film dangerous drivers from behind the wheel can be just as reckless.
Encountering an erratic or dangerous driver like Sean Symons did can be a scary experience for any driver so the AAA Foundation has a few tips to help you watch out for and handle these situations safely:
- Pay Attention to the Entire Road – Being alert helps you identify and avoid dangers on the road. Monitor what’s going on in front, to the sides and behind you at all times while driving, paying particular attention to pedestrians, bicyclists and debris. Keep an eye on your rearview and side mirrors so you’re not caught off guard by a dangerous or speeding driver approaching you from behind.
- Avoid Tailgating – While it is tempting to get a closer look at a bad driver to determine exactly what you’re dealing with, tailgating often leads to a rear end accident. So, maintain the three-second interval between you and the vehicle you’re following. If you are the one being tailgated, move to another lane if possible, or slow down to encourage the driver to pass you.
- Don’t Rely on Other Drivers to Do the Right Thing – Your driving behavior is the only thing you can control on the road, so be sure to drive defensively behind the wheel and anticipate danger before it happens.
- Distance Yourself – Distance is a safe driver’s best friend against hazardous roadway scenarios, and the more distance the better. If you see someone driving erratically in front, next to or behind you, slow down to let them safely pass and change lanes if possible. Avoid speeding up, braking suddenly or abruptly changing lanes as that might exacerbate the situation.
- Call in the Professionals – When you see someone driving erratically, report them to the authorities. Their behavior endangers everyone on the road and police are trained to get them off the roads safely.
- That Said..Stay Off Your Phone Behind the Wheel – Ask a passenger to make the call, or make a mental note of the situation, location and license plate information of the vehicle in question and safely pull off to report it. Engaging in any form of distracted driving to report unsafe conditions only increases the risk of circumstances going from bad to worse.
While taking videos leave a lasting impression of how damaging reckless driving can be, it’s not worth putting yourself in harm’s way to capture the action. A video won’t do anyone any good if the camera becomes part of the wreckage, so stay safe by steering clear of dangerous drivers and driving distraction-free.