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Maneuvering through construction zones and driving on crowded roads is hard enough without also having to deal with reckless drivers.

Road Warrior reader Erica Brown turned her anger into action, and tells us how she did it.

Dear Road Warrior,

On Oct. 1 at 5:15 p.m. a driver on Westbound River Road in Santa Rosa passed 25 cars waiting behind traffic. The cars were backed up, as the left hand turn lane at Fulton and River Roads was filling up the single lane of traffic.

This approximately 50-year-old female, driving a late model Subaru Forester. I got the license plate number, with registration of April 2014, metallic light blue in color, passes these cars on the right, hard shoulder. Many drivers were irate with this person, and many tried to block her and tailgate her for miles down the road.

I was angry as well, but just kept a safe distance from the horseplay and when eventually I was right behind her, my husband in the passenger seat wrote down her plate and registration info and I looked as closely as possible in her driver’s side-mirror to get a description. She turned left between Berry’s Market and Hacienda bridge.

It is so disheartening to see the ripple effect that this breakdown in the rules of civil society causes. I am sure there are at least 15  people still relating the story in a raised voice to someone as I write this.  It was also causing dangerous conditions for all of the drivers that we passed (going both directions) along the way, due to the “retribution” being meted out by the drivers she enraged.

As soon as I got home, I reported the above to the CHP, via their website.  I suggest that everyone do the same.  Be safe, but you don’t have to take it.  Email CHP, post the factual report on Facebook and ask your friends to share it. — Erica Brown

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Comments

26 Comments

  1. Ben Jackson

    We’ve become a nation of narcs, a society of snitches. Talk about the breakdown of civil society.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:07 am

  2. Ken

    You didn’t include what the results of the whole reporting to the CHP via their website would be: The violator may get a letter in the mail warning them not to do that. There are no teeth to such a warning. Why? Because at best, the perp committed an infraction. An infraction must be committed in the presence of an officer in order to have any real repercussions.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:10 am

  3. Tom

    Whaaaaaa!!!My god people have too much time on their hands.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:18 am

  4. Road.Warrior

    I’m getting clarification from Officer Sloat about the next steps. It may be possible to do a citizen’s arrest if you’re willing to be a witness.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:21 am

  5. L

    In the same vein, can someone tell me about the legality of using an exit lane as a way to pass backed up traffic? Every morning on south 101 in Petaluma before the Lakeville exit someone invariably jumps into the dedicated exit lane to pass cars and then backs up the exit as they try to wedge themselves back into the standstill traffic. When you see it every. single. day. the self-entitlement is maddening.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:30 am

  6. John Murphy

    @Ben – which came first, the snitching or the uncivil behavior being snitched upon?

    October 22nd, 2013 10:30 am

  7. Sam

    I would say that even a warning letter could have an impact. The driver may feel less anonymous and more responsible when she learns that she can be found so easily.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:48 am

  8. Frida Unibrow Kahlo

    Menapause and driving make a horrible combination.

    October 22nd, 2013 10:59 am

  9. Lizzy R.

    Good for Ms. brown. The problem is that a lot of us drive alone and can’t write down numbers and drive safely at the same time.

    October 22nd, 2013 11:20 am

  10. Dan

    So you illegally followed her down the hard shoulder? Same thing you are complaining about? How did you get the license plate?

    October 22nd, 2013 12:04 pm

  11. olivia

    I was thinking about this sort of thing as I was driving home just now. I work at home and so do not encounter traffic daily. But every time I leave the house, I am stunned by what I see. In the last week, I’ve been behind a driver for miles on Highway 12 who was weaving in and out of the oncoming lane and shoulder (he was on a cell phone), behind a driver in the fast lane on 116 who was doing about 40 and weaving (filing her nails) and have nearly been hit by three different drivers running three different red lights (not scooting through on the last second of the yellow, but totally running on red). I could go on. What surprises me the most is that there are not more accidents. The traffic situation is out of control.

    October 22nd, 2013 12:13 pm

  12. Leonard

    on a side note; how about CHP officers on motorbikes tailgating cars, lane splitting when traffic is moving at 65/70mph (that would mean they are going 70mph+). CHP officers in cars weaving in and out of traffic. I can understand emergencies but all these officers exited at the Rohnert Park Expressway off-ramp that leads to the CHP office.
    I am now using a GoPro Camera in my car to record these.

    October 22nd, 2013 12:15 pm

  13. J Johnston

    I have received one of those letters from the chp . reported by a driver who was trying to run me off the road were 12 narrows to 2 lanes crossing over Fulton road . She was a middle aged woman in a real safe looking cream collard Volvo sedan she was driving like a mad woman trying to get around me and had the nerve to use the report as a form of extension of her road rage. The chp reports should be illegal there is no way to verify the facts involved.

    October 22nd, 2013 12:15 pm

  14. Bill C.

    Why do you care if someone passes you? You are probably one of those drivers that speeds up in passing zones with cars behind you trying to pass then slows down in no passing zones with the same cars behind you.

    October 22nd, 2013 12:19 pm

  15. bzzitch

    “Maneuvering through construction zones and driving on crowded roads is hard enough without also having to deal with reckless drivers.”

    No… it’s not really — and if you think it is, perhaps you shouldn’t be driving. This mentality is the reason our roads suck. Just drive!

    October 22nd, 2013 12:19 pm

  16. John

    @ben, so am I a narc if I report a drunk driver? Reckless driving, running stoplights and all are all illegal.

    October 22nd, 2013 12:40 pm

  17. Jojo

    All you have to do is go to any Elementary or Middle School parking lot to witness ALL the crazy Mom’s and their ignorance to the driving laws. They all do whatever they want to do in those lots …………..

    October 22nd, 2013 12:48 pm

  18. Monster Joe

    Something an old cabbie taught me, if you see someone driving with both hands on the wheel, give them a wide berth, they are scared to be there. If you can’t do at least the speed limit, or you don’t know the “slower traffic keep right” rule then TAKE THE BUS! People that try to cut into traffic are jerks, and I make a point of boxing them out.

    October 22nd, 2013 1:27 pm

  19. Joe

    The one thing that drives me nuts is the drivers that do not use their TURN SIGNAL, they think you know which way and when they are turning or merging.

    October 22nd, 2013 2:09 pm

  20. Whine Country Romance

    Well did you also bother to writer a letter to the county transportation board? Did you also demand that someone in a leadership position should do something about the traffic in Sonoma county rather than just cash their fat paychecks?

    And what about the other idiots heading west that decided to just sit there in a trance instead of going around the left turn traffic THAT WAS CLEARLY BLOCKING THE ROADWAY.

    October 22nd, 2013 3:48 pm

  21. nospam

    I’m having trouble following this lady’s story here..

    River Rd. at Fulton has 3 lanes, including a dedicated left-turn only lane that is much longer than typical. I’m sorry but if she can’t even remember what road she’s on or how many lanes there are, I don’t see her story standing up in court.

    Also I have to point out that using the shoulder temporarily to pass stopped/disabled vehicles is allowed. Sounds more like to me someone just didn’t know the rules of the road and got all huffy about someone who passed them legally…

    Last thing I would warn you, many many people carry guns these days, you’re lucky you didn’t get a lead shampoo… someone follows me and harasses me just because I passed them on the shoulder? WOW yeah… just… be careful out there, you don’t know who’s packing.

    October 23rd, 2013 1:10 pm

  22. Jake

    21 comments and responses, but not one person so far has thought to suggest that maybe the driver had a reason for driving the way she did? Road rage just as often develops in self-righteous busy bodies who see driving behavior and react (dangerously) with misplaced personal affront. What if this Subaru driver had a desperate child calling Mom from home? Sure, there are plenty of unsafe drivers out there, but I’m more alarmed by how quickly and easily we jump to assumptions, judge others, take bad acts personally, and buy into the eager law enforcement urgings to “Call 911” and report our own neighbors.

    October 24th, 2013 4:15 am

  23. the elfin plumber

    citizen’s arrest? lol, ain’t gonna happen.

    1. the offense described is just an infraction, and even a cop who witnessed it could only write a ticket, not make an arrest, and the citizen’s arrest powers do not exceed the cops. what you’re actually talking about is a “citizen’s ticket” which does not exist in california.

    2. if you do make a citizen’s arrest, you better win the underlying case to avoid exposure to liability. it would cost you beaucoup attorney fees to defend a false arrest case, even before you had to pay compensatory and punitive damages.

    3. the “lead shampoo” scenario referenced above is just a small part of the risk. you have now made an enemy who knows who and where you are, and depending on how retributive they are, you might have to play constant defense for a long time.

    October 25th, 2013 9:42 am

  24. Road.Warrior

    You’re right, elfin plumber. We asked CHP Officer Jon Sloat, who said that this offense is considered an infraction, and an officer must observe an infraction for a citation to be issued.
    “If, however, there is a witness to an incident that rises to reckless driving, they can legally make a citizen’s arrest as it is a misdemeanor. At that point an officer would respond, assess the accusations, and make a decision to either arrest, cite or release. Citizens should be cautioned that this can be confrontational and being a good witness can many times accomplish the same outcome.”

    October 25th, 2013 10:25 am

  25. collinsfriend

    I have a car cam and am putting them up on youtube and a fb page of bad drivers- not excluding bicycles, motorcycles and pedestrians that are also rude, illegal etc. Also bad parking.

    October 26th, 2013 7:02 pm

  26. collinsfriend

    I also call the police or CHP on them

    October 26th, 2013 7:03 pm

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