Just before 4 p.m. on Monday, Saanich Police received a call from a female driver reporting an aggressive driver on the Trans-Canada Highway.
The woman said the other driver, a male, was tailgating her and then cut in front of her only to begin braking aggressively in front of her.
Driving complaints aren’t uncommon, said Sgt. Julie Fast, public information officer for the Saanich Police. However, road rage incidents aren’t reported as often. She said the police are there to enforce the law and when a law has been broken, they need to know.
“We don’t expect people to know what each law is,” said Fast. People may not be aware that actions such as unsafe lane changes and aggressive braking in front of another vehicle are illegal, she said. If dangerous activity is occurring on the road, it’s best to contact the police and they’ll investigate to see if a law has been broken.
Unsafe driving that’s currently happening requires a 911 call, but incidents that aren’t in progress can be handled with a driving complaint form which can be found online, Fast explained. Once the form is submitted, a traffic safety officer will follow up to investigate.
The important information to collect is the when, where and what of the incident, said Fast. The date, time, location and direction of travel are helpful, but the licence plate number and a description of the driver and the vehicle are what will help the police with their investigation, she explained.
“These are big asks, I can appreciate that,” said Fast. “But you need to paint us a picture.”
Witnesses are the eyes and ears of police, she said. Any identifying details will help police investigate if laws were broken. Furthermore, the police need to know exactly what the driver did, not just that they were being aggressive, she explained. It’s the actions themselves that could be illegal when it comes to the Motor Vehicle Act and the Criminal Code.
Fast’s advice to those who find themselves in a road rage situation is simple: “Don’t engage, don’t reciprocate.”
She recommends ignoring the driver. If they begin to follow you or if you’re upset, Fast said it’s best to pull over, calm down and call the police.