In the state of Florida, engaging in aggressive driving behaviors can result in criminal charges. Aggressive driving can take on many forms, but it frequently involves tailgating other drivers, honking your horn, shouting and making obscene gestures, weaving in and out of traffic and using your high beams to blind other drivers. If you’re in a situation with an aggressive driver, you might be tempted to retaliate. However, trying to fight with an aggressive driver can have serious consequences for your personal safety.

How can you deal with an aggressive driver?

When you’re dealing with an aggressive driver, it’s important to remind yourself that their behavior probably isn’t personal. Nearly all of the time, the driver is someone that you’ve never met before. Their behavior isn’t about you — they’re acting out because they’re stressed, hot-tempered or late for something important.

If you see someone driving aggressively, resist the urge to engage with them. Instead, avoid eye contact and try to get as far away from their vehicle as possible. Don’t shout at them or make obscene hand gestures, even if they’re in the wrong. They might be compelled to confront you and cause an MVA.

If you believe that a driver is personally threatening you, don’t try to handle the situation yourself. Pull over to the nearest safe area like a hospital or police station. Don’t be afraid to call 911 if you feel that you need assistance from the authorities. Stay calm if the individual confronts you directly. Don’t let them bait you into arguing with them or getting involved in a physical fight. If they confront you while you’re parked, don’t get out of the car and pull out of the parking lot when it’s safe to do so.

Is aggressive driving a criminal offense?

You might be able to press charges if someone causes an accident due to their aggressive driving behaviors. This could include rear-ending your vehicle, running you off the road or hitting your car while speeding. Talk to an attorney if you’re interested in pursuing a criminal case against the person responsible for the accident.