Is It Ever A Good Idea To Confront A Bad Driver?
Is confronting an unobservant driver ever worth it? It’s a difficult question to answer and while you may have the legal and moral high ground, it may very well be more hassle than it’s worth. If you’ve ever cycled along a road, you’ll know what we mean when we say ‘bad driver’; we’re talking about those who disregard the Highway Code and put cyclist’s lives in jeopardy. It’s a difficult thing to call because even the most considerate drivers are prone to lapses in concentration.
Let’s draw up a scenario: you’re cycling down the road and a car passes by far too close for comfort; or you’re cycling within your lane and a car cuts in front of you. It’s a very dangerous situation, especially when on a bicycle – you’re not protected by a steel cage and there’s very little to protect you from a fall.
Even if you escape unscathed or avoid an accident altogether, what do you do next?
You can shrug the situation off and continue on your journey or you can confront the guilty driver.
There are pros and cons to both schools of thought. Firstly, if you have had an accident and a car driver is genuinely at fault, you are well within your rights to ask for their details, call the police who can take evidence down to support your claim – that should go without saying. If you’ve escaped unharmed and intact and feel the need to take the driver to task, well, that’s a different story altogether…
If a driver is truly apologetic, you can guarantee that they’ll be as shocked as you and will certainly have learned their lesson but if you’re dealing with a joker on the road, you might want to give them a wide berth – if they’re volatile drivers, you can expect a volatile personality to match it. Of course, if you encounter the latter, you can expect the blame to be yours and yours alone – unreasonable drivers make for unreasonable people.
Last month, it was difficult to read the news without seeing footage about the cyclist that was assaulted (take a look below if you missed it). A van passed him far too closely and the cyclist noted that he was on the phone at the time. He vocalized his issue and the rest is history…
This wasn’t an isolated incident either, check out these situations:
Keeping these incidents in mind, perhaps rather than looking out for revenge, it might be worth employing a defensive approach to your journey instead.
Riding with a defensive mindset is a far safer option; of course, in an ideal world you wouldn’t have to cycle around thinking that everything is out to get you but sadly we don’t live in that ideal world and as annoying as it is, playing it safe is going to be your best bet. By initiating a confrontation, you’re almost as much to blame as the bad driver and (as you can see in these videos) you’ll probably come out worse off. One driver from the videos above escaped prosecution and got off with nothing more than a caution; the cyclist was physically assaulted.
Make yourself as visible as possible and always expect the unexpected. I prefer to be squeezed towards the edge of my lane than punched into the gutter. It’s not right but it’s the way things are.
If you’ve experienced an accident where someone else was to blame, contact us at CAMS and we’ll see what we can do for you.