• Smooth Operator Program

    Smooth Operator Program is a public safety initiative, which aims to provide education, information and solutions for the problem of aggressive driving.

P lan your route in advance. Personal frustration, anger, and impatience that is caused by getting lost or traffic congestion can create the most erratic and inconsiderate driving behaviors.
C ontrol your anger. Make a conscious decision not to take your problems with you when driving. Take a breath of fresh air deeply and slowly. Listen to relaxing music.
B e courteous and polite, even if the other driver is not. Treat drivers the way you would like to be treated.
W hen entering traffic or changing lanes make sure there is plenty of room.
C ome to a full stop at red lights and stop signs. Never run yellow light.
S ignal when turning or changing lanes.
T ravel with a safe following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
O bey speed limit.
D on't take other driver's mistakes personally. Avoid aggressive hand gestures or words.
B e apologetic. Say 'Sorry' if you made a mistake.
S tay in your car and lock the doors if you are being physically threatened. Call the police or use your horn and lights to attract attention.
D rive directly to a police station or a busy public area if you think you are being followed. Do not drive home.

Aggressive Driving is defined as operation of a motor vehicle that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property. It includes unlawful driving actions such as:

  • Speeding - exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.
  • Improper or excessive lane changing - failing to signal intent, failing to see that movement can be made safely; or
  • Improper passing - failing to signal intent, using emergency lane to pass, or passing on the shoulder.

  • Mentally condemning or having thoughts of violence towards other drivers or showing no concern for other drivers.
  • Verbally expressing condemnation of other drivers to passengers in your vehicle.
  • Not obeying traffic safety rules/laws because you don't agree with them.
  • Aggressive driving habits are:
    • Following too close or tailgating.
    • Speeding.
    • Weaving in and out of traffic.
    • Speeding to beat a red light.
    • Screaming, honking and flashing lights excessively.
    • Braking to get others to back off your bumper.
    • Passing on the right, in shoulders or on unpaved portions of the roadway.
    • Making improper and unsafe lane changes.
    • Making hand and facial gestures.
    • Cutting between vehicles to change lanes.

  • Make every attempt to get out of their way.
  • Avoid eye contact.
  • Do not challenge them by speeding up.
  • Ignore gestures and refuse to return them.
  • Wear you seat belt. It is the law and it will hold you in your seat and behind the wheel in case you need to make an abrupt driving maneuver and it will protect you in a crash.
  • Report aggressive drivers to the appropriate authorities by providing a vehicle description, license number, location, and if possible, direction of travel.
  • If an aggressive driver is involved in a crash, stop a safe distance from the crash scene, wait for the police to arrive and report the driving behavior that you witnessed.
  • If you are being followed by an aggressive driver, drive to the nearest police station or a busy public place. Call for help if you have a cell phone. Do not drive home.

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District Department of Transportation, PPSA - Highway Safety Office, 55 M ST, SE, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20003 (202) 673-6813