Tailgating: we’ve all done it. Some do it more than others. One of my friends does it to anyone in front of her, no matter the speed. It scares the bejesus out of me. (As far as safe drivers go, though, she’s never been in an accident the entire time I’ve known her. So really, I should feel okay riding with her.)
I have a two-part policy. If I’m going too slow and I was unaware until the car behind me rode my ass, then I will speed up. If I’m going the speed limit or faster and the car behind me still is riding my ass, then I will slow down (and, if possible, I will block him from switching lanes and passing me). I refuse to be intimidated to go faster when I’m already pushing the limits. Let the other guy get the ticket. I can’t afford it.
I applied this policy yesterday when driving in to work. A guy in a red sports car started tailgating me. When I noticed, I looked at my speedometer. I was going 40 and the limit was 50. So I sped up. We were going along fine until I got behind a truck who was behind another car that was going slow. The red sports car was still on me. It was physically impossible for me to go any faster and this guy was riding dangerously close. It wasn’t hard for me to determine that there was a slow-moving car in front of the guy in front of me. The shadows on the pavement proved it so why couldn’t red sports car guy see it too and back off? I threw my hands in the air and gave him my “What do you want me to do about it?” shrug. He still didn’t get it. When I saw my opening, I switched lanes. “Tailgate someone else,” I said to him but I’m sure he didn’t hear.
When occurrences like this happen, it makes me think of a story Grandma K. used to tell me. In the earlier part of the 20th century, Grandma K. was driving somewhere when another car started tailgating her. She reached down and flipped on her headlights, which in turn made her red tail lights turn on. The guy behind her slammed on his brakes, thinking she was stopping suddenly. As he hit his brakes, she hit her gas pedal and sped away. You go, Grandma K.