People have been doing it since automobiles first appeared on roads. We’ve all probably been guilty of tailgating the car in front of us from time to time. I’ve certainly followed slow drivers too closely, though never unsafely close like many drivers I’ve seen (my wife may disagree…) On at least one road near my house, it seems far more than isolated cases of being very late to an appointment. It’s more like an epidemic of road-ragers and just plain inconsiderate and unsafe drivers.
The main route through our subdivision is a 4-lane city road. Our stretch of this road is at least a few miles long of only residential areas, and so no large trucks are allowed. The speed limit is 35 mph for miles in either direction and signs are posted frequently. The problem is that this road goes from one end of town to the other, from the interstate highway to all the residences in the south end of town. That apparently is the only excuse needed for drivers to be in a big hurry, all day, every day.
Where my street ends at this road is our school district’s new pre-K school that also serves children with disabilities. That serves as no deterrent to speeders, lane weavers and bumper bullies. I drive this road frequently, and if it is anywhere close to rush hour, there is someone so close to my rear bumper that I can’t see their headlights in my mirrors. And it doesn’t seem to matter how fast I’m driving, someone is always on my bumper trying to bully me to drive faster.
My response is to then drive EXACTLY 35 mph until my turn, but the bullies never take a hint about their unsafe driving. For most, they simply look for an opportunity to be even less safe. They swerve into the other lane to cut off another car, then speed past me until they get on the bumper of yet another vehicle and have to slow down again a few seconds later. Or, they have to jam on the brakes at the next traffic signal behind another group of cars they will unsafely tailgate to repeat the cycle.
From expressway until the road ends, it’s about 7 miles long. Considering all the stoplights and traffic, it’s unlikely the bullies can average 10 miles per hour faster than safe drivers, even if they do manage to go 50mph or faster for short stretches. A savings of perhaps a few minutes in a best case scenario, but realistically only a minute or two. Is it really worth it? Not only being an idiot and contributing to their own stress and blood pressure levels, but endangering other drivers, their own passengers and pedestrians, too?