Other than me needing to be even more cautious apparently, my question is; is it worth it to react / reply / or talk to people in vehicles when they do something to potentially hurt you, whether it be intentional or not?
For example, last week I had a lady swing her wheel into my lane forcing me to practically emergency brake so I wouldn't find myself on her rear driver-side quarter panel. This woman did absolutely see me, so this would be an example of knowingly making a driving decision either out of ignorance or carelessness. A good example of an unintentional incident happened earlier today when I had a guy take a left turn into the lane I was in. When he made the turn, he literally swung his car as far over into the right side of the lane as it would possibly go without hitting the curb and sideswiped me. I hectically managed to gain balance and come to an abrupt stop, but what then?
I'm a relatively new commuter (give or take 4 years now) and I'm still not sure what the best course of action is in these scenarios. For example, when the lady who cut me off passed me at the next light, her male passenger friend rolled his window down and muttered something at me even though I didn't engage them. As for the oblivious left turner, when I caught up to him, he was completely clueless about what happened. He replied, "Oh, I thought I heard a sound!" On one hand, I feel like if nothing is said (or sometimes yelled), then the person responsible for the incident will never know they did anything wrong and thus not be able to seek or take corrective action. But at the same time, I also feel like that can put cyclists in a negative light for these people and potentially create or reinforce their negative paradigm of cyclists.
Am I being delusional in thinking that people can take something away from an incident if I make a big deal about it or is my best course of action to guard my ass and move along? I realize there can be a fine line in anything we do, but I'd like to hear everyone's thoughts on this matter to not only assess the general consensus, but to also see what can be effective practices.