Driving Dangers: A First-Hand Account and Expert Safety Advice

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS)- - "I got behind this car that was going extremely slow, I'm talking like 20 mph so I'm making sure that I'm not getting too close because they were going that slow that I thought maybe something was wrong," Lantz said.

"The car in front of me pulled over on the side of the road and let me pass, so I passed, everything was fine for probably another five minutes and then the next thing I know, they're right behind me. All I see in my mirror is lights," Lantz continued. 

"They're flashing their lights on and off they have their high beams on and on and off and they're following really closely, once in a while and even swerving a little bit as if they were trying to get around me but probably by this point we were in an area where they could have passed," Lantz recalls. 

"I was afraid they were going to hit me, they were following me that close and speeding that heavily, and so they're still flashing their lights on and off and then it just goes black behind me....There's no more light, which it was almost blinding at one point and then it had just gone black but I could tell that they were still behind me so now I'm really scared it's like everything you see in these movies," Lantz said. 

Lantz says just like that, they were gone. The driver had turned the car around and headed the opposite direction. 

"It sounds like you were targeted for whatever reason whether they thought they knew you whether they did want to get you," Tom Huffman, a Retried New York State Trooper said. 

Huffman says the first thing you should do in this type of situation is call for help. 


"Sometimes you're afraid to call 911 because you think you're overreacting, well its not overreacting if you feel unsafe that's why 911 is there they want to get somebody to you as fast as possible," Huffman said. 

Huffman says even if you're in an area with no cell service, that shouldn't stop you from making the call. 

"So let's say you have Verizon for a cell phone carrier and you call 911 and you don't have a signal because you're using Verizon, the other carriers are required to pick up your cell phone or your cell call and relay it to 911," Huffman said. 

Huffman says be ready to tell the operator your location, destination, and anything you can about the other vehicle. 

"Criminals are always looking for another target, don't make yourself an easy target. Take away any indicators of somebody looking at you and saying, oh this person might be an easy target. While you're on your trip always be aware of what's going on around you," Huffman said. 

Limit distractions such as cell phones and loud music, and always have a "plan b" should you find yourself in trouble. 

"Know where you can get an escape route. If you make that trip every day to work, know what road...it may take you out of the way but know, OK there's a gas station even if it's just 5 or 10 miles away, where as if you go straight to work it might be 15 or 20 miles...no matter what happens to choose the safest route," Huffman said. 

And just because you've arrived at your destination doesn't necessarily mean your safe. 

"Don't relax until you get home and the doors are locked or you get to work and you're inside the building. When you do get to your destination, or when you're walking from your house to the car or your car to the destination be ready to get in the car, get out of the car, have everything picked up in your hand and go. Spend as little time making that transition from the building to the car or the car to the building because that's when people are going to try to get you," Huffman said. 

Huffman is holding an upcoming safety workshop aimed at teaching participants a number of self defense practices. For more information, call Huffman at 607-742-8826. 


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