2 February 2017

Losses and Lessons: Custom 1940 Ford gets some unwanted front-end work

VEHICLE INVOLVED: 1940 Ford Deluxe hot rod

WHAT WENT WRONG: From obscene gestures to aggressive driving and even violence, road rage has become all-too common these days. And classic and collector cars are hardly immune. The owner of a 1940 Ford Deluxe hot rod was cruising a country road when the driver of a 2012 Nissan Maxima began tailgating. After swerving from side to side to show his displeasure at the Ford’s moderate speed, the driver of the Maxima sped past and slammed on his brakes. Unable to stop in time, the Ford crashed into the rear of the Nissan.

DAMAGE/LOSS: No one was injured, but the hot rod suffered damage to its bumper, grille, hood and headlights. Cost of repair and repaint was $5,985, which Hagerty paid.

LESSON: No one wins when road rage is on board. Always be courteous to other drivers, and never engage someone who is obviously unhappy with your driving – whether or not you believe you did something wrong. If you’re being tailgated, pull off the road if necessary and allow the car to pass. And always be prepared for the worst possible scenario – the driver ahead of you slamming on their brakes, for instance. Avoid aggressive behavior of any kind, not only for the sake of your car but for your own safety.

53 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Steve Georgia February 3, 2017 at 11:17
    That's why I use a camera pointed in the front almost all of the time, and I frequently use another pointed toward the back. It won't stop an idiot, but it can prove you weren't the idiot.
  • 2
    Jay maine February 4, 2017 at 03:14
    camera won't help a thing. if you rearend someone then you weren't in control of your vehicle and didn't keep proper following distance to be able to stop in time
  • 3
    Doug Georgia February 8, 2017 at 16:27
    That's not true, I was involved in the same type of incident and the other driver received the ticket. They take aggressive driving serious in Georgia.
  • 4
    Paul Waterdown, Ontario February 8, 2017 at 16:31
    Here's a paradigm for you. Driving is a cooperative effort. Unless we all cooperate with one another, we can't merge, pass, stop, or survive the high speeds and lane changes we all must manage on the simplest route. Other drivers cooperated wonderfully every time you survive. Pass on the courtesy.
  • 5
    Greg Washington February 8, 2017 at 16:33
    In some situations if the driver in front makes a "sudden stop" that fact can be a mitigating factor to a rear-ender. Sudden stops have also become more prevalent due to an increasing number of drivers that attempt to create a collision for fraudulent monetary gain.
  • 6
    Noel Maine February 8, 2017 at 16:33
    If somebody does what was described above and it's caught on camera, then at the very least you have evidence that you weren't at fault because they were driving recklessly, driving to endanger, or a similar violation. It's a much stronger argument than your word against theirs.
  • 7
    Jeff Maine February 8, 2017 at 16:38
    @Jay... Did it occur to you that maybe a 1940 vehicle can't stop as quick as a 2012 vehicle? And the "following distance" point is moot if someone pulls in front of you and slams on the brakes. Just my two cents worth.
  • 8
    Dan Az February 8, 2017 at 16:42
    Each state is different, but in many states if you can show the other guy caused a road rage collision, regardless of what parts of the car collided, he is responsible.
  • 9
    Gary Smith GA February 8, 2017 at 17:06
    Actually this is a common misconception. It is impossible to keep proper distance in the scenario described above. There has to be some reason for the car to just slam on breaks, Ie avoid an accident.
  • 10
    John Craff Illinois February 8, 2017 at 17:13
    I Disagree with Jay; I did have a camera in a similar situation a year ago. Although no tickets were issued so there was no court case, I showed video footage to my insurance company of the other car passing me and changing lanes just a couple feet in front of me and slamming on the brakes. The other driver was found 100% at fault and his insurance had to pay. I could've filed charges with the police, but I didn't want to bother. I'm sure he got a bad mark on his insurance record, though, and an increase in his ins. premium.
  • 11
    Chris Texas February 8, 2017 at 17:21
    IMHO the camera would help this rodder. The Maxima obviously slammed on brakes unnecessarily and aggressively after passing. (The camera before the pass would show the clear highway ahead). Thus the Maxima driver caused the wreck by an unsafe action.
  • 12
    Roland hill USA February 8, 2017 at 17:30
    That's what is wrong with America . These drivers think they are the only ones on the road .
  • 13
    Mike SC February 8, 2017 at 17:31
    A little different if the guy in front causes the accident on purpose. It is no surprise that a '40 ford does not stop like a '12 Maxima, but if he pulled in and slammed on brakes, that is wreckless driving with intent - not just following too close in your classic. I never let myself get at all close to a modern car with 4 wheel disc brakes, but if they pull in and slam, how can you avoid that?
  • 14
    Rick Columbus, OH February 8, 2017 at 17:36
    A coworker of mine experienced a very similar event (replace said '40 Ford with a class C motor home). Fortunately there was a witness who verified the brake-checking road rage event and the police charged the one who caused the event accordingly. On board cameras are becoming more popular around here as they have served as 'witnesses' to an event caused by another driver. And the author is dead on with the recommendation to let a bad driver go around if I'm in his way. The further away from me someone driving like that is, the better off I am.
  • 15
    Don California February 8, 2017 at 17:42
    Usually rear ending someone is your fault, but not always. My son was driving my pick-up when someone driving erratically slammed on the brakes in front of him. While they were exchanging info waiting for the police, the guy took off. Fortunately, my son had witnesses. We didn't know his name until his insurance contacted mine to file a claim. It was determined to be the other guy's fault and his insurance paid for my damage.
  • 16
    Carl Stewart Massachusetts February 8, 2017 at 17:47
    Jay is correct. If you rear-end a car in front of you, you are at fault. It isn't particularly important that the driver in front stopped quickly. You are supposed to maintain the proper distance to allow you to stop. Seems unfair but this is the reason you should not engage in games with someone who is angry about something you know nothing about.
  • 17
    Jeff Driver CA February 8, 2017 at 17:53
    Not in case the driver of the maxima passed then intentionally slammed on his brakes for no reason other then to make a point. The black box for the maxima's ABS will prove the point.
  • 18
    David Crabtree WA February 8, 2017 at 17:53
    While it is generally true that if you rear-end someone, you will be found liable, a camera might show the idiot cutting in in too close in front of you and thus give you a little support in litigation.
  • 19
    Brian Michel Ohio February 8, 2017 at 17:58
    Not true in ohio Jay. if you slam on your brakes to make someone hit you from the rear, you will be cited for wreckless/aggressive driving.
  • 20
    Scott Kansas February 8, 2017 at 18:01
    That is a very common presumption, however, it could theoretically be overcome by evidence of negligent/intentional conduct of the driver in the lead vehicle. This is where the camera footage would be helpful.
  • 21
    Andrew Nebraska February 8, 2017 at 18:16
    Not true. Commercial truck drivers run dash cams all the time to ward off ideots intentionally brake checking semis to get nailed on insurance fraud. If the owner of the 40, sad to say, had front and rear cameras and caught the Nissan driver acting as stated it would offer disputable proof of the nissan's owner and put the liability back to the Nissan.
  • 22
    Daral Mexico right now February 8, 2017 at 18:25
    A camera would help because it would show the moron in the nissan pulling in too soon and hitting the brakes. Any jerk who does that needs to be removed from the road permanently. Send them to Baffin Island! No one can control the space between the cars when one driver cuts rigjt in front of you!!
  • 23
    swartzy waterport February 8, 2017 at 18:26
    i'v seen this time and time again , I 'll be driven the 65 cutlass down the road at 60 when the speed limit is 55 and I know the speedo is right . if anything it might be a little light and it might be more like 63 or 62 . And some ding bat some times younger sometimes middle age in a newer car trying to prove something will run right up behind ya tail gate ya then blow by like they proved some kind a point . When realy I could have dropped the throttle on the 460 and blown rubber on his hood and hit 100mph right now . but again he we are just trying to enjoy the ride crusin down the road . Like I said I have seen this multiple times , exact same story and had to say something .
  • 24
    Mike Michigan February 8, 2017 at 18:30
    That's why I always pack, you just never know.
  • 25
    EuGene Smith Clinton, AR February 8, 2017 at 18:31
    Sometimes it is not a matter of having control on one's vehicle. I have had a car pass me and suddenly cut in less than 6 feet in front of my car. If he had hit his brakes it would have been impossible for me to avoid hitting him. Although I haven't had such an accident, I have seen a couple rear enders happen that way.
  • 26
    Lee Texas February 8, 2017 at 18:34
    Not true. Rear ending someone creates a presumption that you are at fault, but that is rebuttable. If you have video evidence that the guy acted like that and purposefully created the unsafe condition, you will not only win the Who-pays-for-what battle, but can have the guy arrested for reckless driving, endangerment, etc.
  • 27
    Wayne VanVolkenburg Havelock, Ontario February 8, 2017 at 18:46
    If the idiot pulled by and then slammed on his/her brakes then the hot rod owner wouldn't have had an opportunity to establish proper following distance.
  • 28
    Perry Stratford, ON. Canada February 8, 2017 at 18:47
    Older cars are not always able to stop as quickly as new cars. It sounds to me like this is what took place in this example of road rage. If this is the case there would be little you could do, know one expects someone to pass and then slam on the the brakes. I have a 1979 Trans am and would have had a problem stopping as well should this have happened to me.
  • 29
    Ron California February 8, 2017 at 19:00
    Wrong, in that situation, the car that got rear ended was in the wrong. It is called inciting an accident and he should pay.
  • 30
    Delton Streetman Redding, CA. February 8, 2017 at 19:10
    If you can prove (see where a camera CAN be helpful?) That the person did pull an unsafe lane change by entering your lane without enough clearance, and slammed on their brakes knowing that they didn't leave you room to stop. Then you can prove you're a victim of road rage, OR a the victim of someone who is intentionally trying to get rear ended in an accident they caused so they can collect on non existent, or highly exaggerated medical claims.
  • 31
    KTKelly Greensboro, NC February 8, 2017 at 19:11
    Jay, With video proof of someone passing, cutting in, and then slamming on their brakes, they WILL be found to be at fault, so the camera WILL matter. Surprisingly, I had some idiot in a BMW Z3 make that exact move in front of my Chevy 25000HD pickup, and while I had some small amount of damage, he suffered many times more damage, and he also got fined and found to be at fault thank you to the camera.
  • 32
    iain Nanaimo, BC Canada February 8, 2017 at 19:32
    Jay you're right for most circumstances; if you hit from behind, you are generally found at fault. But, if you can show that the vehicle you hit intentionally caused the incident by leaving no braking room, I believe you can at least spread the blame.
  • 33
    Steve Puyallup February 8, 2017 at 19:35
    "the driver of the Maxima sped past and slammed on his brakes" very hard to avoid. He was not driving behind anybody for most the time. You can't avoid this if someone wants to wreck your car like that. It was not the 1940 Ford's fault.
  • 34
    Chris Fort Worth, TX February 8, 2017 at 19:54
    Not sure how other states are, but in Texas if you rear end someone it's automatically your fault
  • 35
    Tim Texas February 8, 2017 at 19:54
    Jay, I will respectfully disagree. Yes, you are normally at fault if you rear end another car but the camera can prove the car swerved in front of you and slammed on their brakes causing the crash. This could also be used as evidence to charge the other driver with reckless driving and possible reckless endangerment depending on the circumstances.
  • 36
    Patrick Indiana February 8, 2017 at 20:42
    The trucking industry is using cameras for situations like this and laws vary from state to state. Even if you rear end someone, you can be found innocent If you can prove the driver made an illegal or dangerous making the accident unavoidable.
  • 37
    Ray FL February 8, 2017 at 20:49
    It's a doggone shame that this type of behavior exists but it does and it is difficult to protect yourself from with or without cameras. Jay is correct as to rear end collisions-you can thank your insurance company for this; its called spreading the risk between insurance companies. However, the camera may definitely help if charges are filed, or if your insurance company decides to pursue the matter. The Hagerty advice is sound-best bet pull off the road and hope the other guy doesn't decide this is a signal you wish to 'duke it out'.
  • 38
    John Ft Wayne February 8, 2017 at 21:33
    If you want to pass a slower vehicle, it is completely illogical to pass it then slam on the brakes. Seems clear to me that the driver of the Nissan was the instigator of whatever "rage" was occurring in this incident.
  • 39
    Mike Virginia February 8, 2017 at 22:03
    Not so. First off, don't engage the idiots. If I come to work your wreck and you have evidence that someone intentionally cut you off and then brake checked I'll write them for reckless. Having rear facing evidence of the prior driving behavior will all but gaurentee a conviction. Always writing the vehicle in the back of the pileup just shows you're just too lazy to do a good investigation.
  • 40
    Walter Clark Southeast Arizona February 8, 2017 at 22:36
    All you can do is use extreme caution. Get plate numbers and call 911, ask for DPS, be accurate with your info. Description, mileposts anything take can help DPS. Patience is more valuable than road rage. The perpetrator is "stupid is as stupid does". If that doesn't work, you have a right to protect yourself. JUST DO IT RIGHT. Let it go by and back away from it. Good luck!
  • 41
    Jesse Florida February 8, 2017 at 23:30
    I beg to differ with Jay from Maine. Someone passing you and stopping short, giving you no time to react, is not your fault and that camera can prove it.
  • 42
    Gary California February 9, 2017 at 13:40
    No one has said...did the Maxima get damaged, I hope?
  • 43
    Scott Allred Chico CA February 9, 2017 at 13:59
    Hagerty's comment is the most important here in my opinion: " Always be courteous to other drivers, and never engage someone who is obviously unhappy with your driving – whether or not you believe you did something wrong. If you’re being tailgated, pull off the road if necessary and allow the car to pass." Please note, "Whether or not you believe you did something wrong." If some jerk is riding your tail, don't keep on going, saying to yourself, "I'm going the speed limit and that guy can kiss my butt." PULL OVER!!! You do not know, and will not know, that person's condition or state of mind. Pull over and let them by, and situations like the one above will be avoided. No cameras will be necessary.
  • 44
    dave mi. February 9, 2017 at 15:17
    the nissan driver wasn't going fast enough behind the ford to suit him. i have come to realize after having an old conv. that cars today have gottin so advanced that you have no sence of speed. you can be doing 80 and it feels like your just crusing alone until you look at your speedo. if you need to react quickly to something in traffic is usually when you realize how fast your really going.
  • 45
    David North Carolina February 9, 2017 at 06:07
    Normally Jay is right in a legal sense, however, by having cameras pointed forward and backward (which I do when driving my 1996 Porsche's) I can show (submit as evidence in court) if the car behind (or in front) is driving aggressively and/or recklessly and causing reckless endangerment to property and persons. Just because I rear-end someone doesn't mean it was my fault. With the cameras I can show intent on the part of the other driver to cause damage and/or harm.
  • 46
    Craig Ontario, Canada February 9, 2017 at 08:19
    Not always the case Jay, the camera can prove dangerous driving by the other vehicle driver, proving you had no chance of avoiding contact. I always have a dash cam working while driving, poor drivers are a fact of life these days, you need proof you're not at fault.
  • 47
    James Texas February 9, 2017 at 10:44
    You could be right, Dead Right. Bring back courtesy on the road!
  • 48
    Roger Klunder Michigan February 9, 2017 at 11:05
    As a former law enforcement guy, I can tell you in Michigan it would be Failure to Stop in Assured Clear Distance. However, that charge isn't made if the guy in front is shown as driving Careless or Reckless. Then that driver is cited. Right or Wrong, that is the law in Michigan. That said, there would probably be an assault charge coming out of the incident as well.
  • 49
    Ken Lincoln, CA February 9, 2017 at 11:08
    I haven't read all of the responses, but I did find it amusing, after reading about fifteen of them, that nobody considered the possibility that, after the waving of one finger salutes, the '40 Ford driver might have decided to tailgate the Maxima after it passed to get even. Also, most people ignored the fact that the Ford had refused to pull over to allow faster traffic to pass. I have a C6 Corvette and I will pull to the side of the road to let some hot pilot in a Toyota Prius move on past me, no matter how fast I was going and what the speed limit was. This story is all about two immature people having not learned to control themselves.
  • 50
    Hemi Massachusetts February 9, 2017 at 11:11
    That's why I don't bring the collector cars out as much anymore. Not enough respect from others on the road.
  • 51
    richie East meadow Long Island ny February 9, 2017 at 11:40
    I'm surprised that they didn't come to blows, usually that's what happens. I think if i were the guy in the "40" i would have been flipping out.I have a 55 Chevy w/ heavy bucks in it, i wouldn't be happy!!!!
  • 52
    John Missouri February 9, 2017 at 12:13
    I have a dash cam that has front and rear view in one , In this and several others let the bad driver go and report him to patrol ,if that driver would come up to your vehicle and try assault in several states you have the right to defend yourself with deadly force . be carefull .
  • 53
    Dennis Alabama February 10, 2017 at 17:02
    I was driving on the interstate with cruise control on at just above posted speed limit. Looked in my mirror and then pulled into the left lane to pass a slower car. All of a sudden a car came out of nowhere probably doing 20 mph more then I. he pulled up so close to my rear all I could see was his windshield with him giving me numerous hand gestures. When I was clear I pulled over in the right lane again only to have this guy pass swerve into my lane an slam on the brakes. He then slowed to about 40 mph and any attempt for me to pull out and pass he sped up and blocked me. This went on for probably 5 miles. I finally went out to pass him and then quickly pulled back into the right lane and drove down an exit. I did report his licence plate to the state troopers but have no idea if anything came of it. For someone going so fast he certainly slowed his progress while messing with me. I did nothing to aggravate him as there are too many cases out there of road rage involving guns or being run off the road. I guess the old saying "you can't fix stupid" may apply here but this guy obviously had unresolved issues.

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