I typically try to stick to politics in this blog, but occasionally there are those things outside of the political realm that make me so angry I can’t help but to rant about them.

Last night as I was on my way home (on my most favorite little, country, two-lane roads) I noticed a vehicle riding the bumper of the car behind me. As I was about to turn onto another two-lane country road I thought, (dripping with sarcasm) “Oh, please let this joker end up right behind me.” See, I’m one of those mean-spirited souls who will, when faced with a tailgater, do 5mph under the speed limit just to spite the selfish jerk who dares ride my bumper.

Sure enough, the fancy white car turned behind me and drove close enough to tap me on the shoulder to tell me to drive faster. The car was so close to mine that, even though our vehicles were virtually the same size, I couldn’t even see the headlights. I patiently drove 35mph down the 40mph road, only hitting my brakes one good time to let her (of course it was a “her”) know that I didn’t appreciate her lack of driver consideration. Even when I turned onto the street on which I live she practically pushed my car down the very same road. As I pulled into my driveway I looked in my mirror and, to my horror, saw this awful woman pull into the driveway two houses down from mine.

I thought I’d moved into a nice, country neighborhood…sadly, one of my neighbors is one of mankind’s worst – a tailgater.

As a reformed tailgater I feel completely comfortable telling you about why tailgating is such a horrible – and ineffective – habit. First, tailgating reveals how terribly self-absorbed you are. Clearly, tailgaters believe that where they have to go and how fast they want to drive are far more important than whatever may be going on in the vehicle in front of them. Do they ever stop to think that maybe that slow-moving vehicle (which is usually doing the speed limit) may have precious cargo that they would rather not have flying around their car as a result of taking curves at 60mph? Or maybe that driver is unfamiliar with the road and is a little nervous about what may be coming around the bend. Or maybe that driver is older and their reflexes aren’t what they used to be. It doesn’t matter what the reasons – the tailgater doesn’t consider anyone else.

Second, it’s dangerous. I constantly have to slam on my brakes on the way home to avoid hitting animals. When I have someone 6 inches from my bumper, I’m significantly more nervous about having to make a quick stop – especially since I’m pregnant. I’m at the early stage of pregnancy where the seatbelt doesn’t fit under my bump – it runs right across. A rear-end collision would be devastating to my tiny baby. And you better believe I would sue the pants off the SOB that caused it.

Finally, tailgating is ineffective. How many people do you know that actually speed up as a result of someone riding their bumper? How often do you think, “Oh, that person driving on top of my trunk has just reminded me that I am driving entirely too slow! Allow me to speed up so that we both may get home more quickly!” Or, how often do you pull over to let the tailgater get around you? Laughable – as I said before, I drive significantly slower as a result of a tailgater, and while I enjoy the scenery on my slow drive home, the tailgater gets angrier and angrier.

This reformed tailgater now appreciates those slow-moving cars in front of me. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been speeding, been slowed down by another car, and then passed a police officer who certainly would have pulled me over were it not for the slower speed forced by that law-abiding driver in front of me. I also consider that maybe God is keeping me from being in an accident ahead. Or I take the time to slow down and enjoy a nice view of the mountains.

There is protocol for an emergency situation, mind you. Turn on your hazards, honk your horn if necessary, and most people will see that as an indication of “I have to get to the hospital because my spouse/child/mother/best friend has been in an accident” and will get out of your way. Otherwise, slow down, enjoy the scenery, and get off my bumper.

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