I pride myself on being a courteous and careful driver. This is the result of two key motivating factors; first, I have no desire to meet an untimely demise, and second, I care about each of the drivers around me. I am the person that will slow down to allow you to enter the highway from the onramp. I come to a complete stop and yield the right-of-way. I even have the audacity to slow down in a school zone. In short, I am a complete aberration on the roadways!
There is little that I enjoy more than taking a long drive. There is a certain beauty when man meets machine. The feel of the wind against my face, the hum of a well-tuned engine, and the scenic beauty sharing itself through the windshield all create a buffet for the senses! On the flip side of life, perhaps the greatest irritant imaginable is looking up in the rearview and seeing another vehicle closing in quickly. I gladly perform my motorist’s civic duty and slow down a tad bit so that they can pass me.
Over the course of the next several minutes, my love for humanity is put to the test. Rather than take the left lane, accelerate, pass me, and be on their merry way; the driver behind me will continue to close in. First, the front end of their car disappears in the mirror. I can no longer see their license plate, and then the headlights can no longer be discerned. By my estimation, our bumpers are now less than three feet apart!
If I slow down, the car behind me slows down. Try to speed up and their speedometer will quickly match mine. It takes a lot to rattle me and I take a certain amount of solace in knowing that I possess nerves of steel. However, it never fails that the vehicle behind me is a massive SUV being driven by a person who can hardly see over the steering wheel!
Like any worthwhile battle, one of the combatants eventually has to escalate their arsenal. If it is not already down, I will lower the driver’s side window. My hand goes out, I make a fist, my thumb is sharply extended, and I gesture for the tailgater to back off. This effort pays off only about one in five times. In these cases, I know that I am dealing with an inadvertent tailgater. They will either slow down and back off or pass me quickly. I am particularly amused as the driver’s spouse, seated right next to them, gives them a good old-fashioned finger wagging.
The universe has a need to balance itself; good versus evil, light versus dark, and brilliance versus stupidity. This last example applies to the other four in five cases of tailgating. During these instances, the person behind me will either ignore my gesture and stay right on my bumper; or worse yet, they will close the already miniscule distance between our two vehicles. Looking back up into the rearview will only reveal a sadistic leer on their twisted face! It is in these situations that you will soon find me going forty miles per hour on an interstate highway!
Life comes with its own bevy of tailgaters. These are not individuals following your vehicle too closely. Instead, it is a group of people who know what they are doing to you is wrong. They disregard your concerns about their behavior, risk your well-being as well as their own, and derive great pleasure from seeing others worry. This type of person cannot be eluded and they cannot be forced to go around you. The only recourse is to slow down, ignore them, and let them eventually grow weary of the game they play.
What category do you fall into? Do you consciously look after all the other drivers on your highway called life? Do you assure that there is a safe distance between you and those around you? Do you anticipate the needs of others and yield for the well-being of all concerned? Or are you one of the growing number of society’s tailgaters?
After being “drafted” at speeds in excess of seventy-five miles per hour; I am thinking of launching a new motorsport. Since most of these occurrences involve young mothers driving minivans; I am prepared to introduce NASVAN! I have to imagine that Pampers, Fisher-Price, and Enfamil will be lining up with sponsorships!