London man learns tough lesson after road rage incident

Eric Prendergast was heading to north London Wednesday night when things took a nasty turn for the worse. He stopped at a traffic light at Wellington St. and Queen's Ave. In front of him was a carful of young men who appeared engaged in conversation. Their car didn't move when the light turned green.

Eric Prendergast wishes he hadn't gotten out of his car after being tailgated by an aggressive driver.

Eric Prendergast speaks with London police following a road rage incident Wednesday night. (Kerry McKee/CBC)

Eric Prendergast was heading to north London Wednesday night when things took a nasty turn for the worse. He stopped at a traffic light at Wellington St. and Queen's Ave. In front of him was a carful of young men who appeared engaged in conversation. Their car didn't move when the light turned green. 

"I gave them a friendly - not an aggressive - but a friendly honk," said Prendergast. 

But, that honk kicked off a short but aggressive series of events. 

Prendergast passed the other vehicle. It sped up and started tailgating him. 

"They pretty much followed on my bumper," said Prendergast. He turned onto Central and then Richmond and the aggression continued. 

"They were hanging out of the car. They started throwing, I don't know what it was, it sounded like rocks at my back window. They actually hit someone else's car too."

Prendergast eventually stopped his car in the middle of Richmond St. 

'I was at my breaking point.'

Prendergast did something he now realizes wasn't a good idea. 

"I shouldn't have, but I got out of my car," he said. 

That's when a fight broke out in the middle of Richmond St. At first, only the other driver was involved but it quickly became a situation of four against one. Police were called and members of the public intervened. 

By the time officers arrived, the men in the other vehicle had left.

Lesson learned

Officers investigated the incident but noted Prendergast was first to get out of his vehicle. That's not what police recommend when there's a road rage incident. 

"Move over if someone's tailgating you," said Sgt. Sean Harding, the supervisor of the traffic division for London police. 

"Don't get lulled out of your car. Stay in the vehicle and contact police."

In hindsight, Prendergast wishes he'd done just that. 

"Lesson learned. Stay in your car when someone's gone crazy," he said.