Handling tailgaters

Tailgaters are annoying. When one is riding my back bumper, I get out of their way as soon as possible. I mention this because there's a story out of Auburn in which a couple of young women were traveling on I-80 recently when they encountered a tailgater. Rather than getting out of the woman's way, they flipped her off. That's when things got really dangerous as the already agitated driver used her pickup truck to try to run the victims off the road. After the event, the women conceded flipping the other driver off wasn't the brightest idea. Now, that other driver is facing a host of serious charges. Back when driver's education was taught in high school, my teacher was adamant in telling us 15 and a half year olds never to do anything to further agitate an apparent aggressive driver. If they are on your tail get out of the way. Don't brake. Don't use obscene language or gestures. This person may be unstable and the situation could escalate. My teacher also said to try to put ourselves in the tailgater's shoes. Why is this person in a hurry? Sure, maybe they're running late for work and should've left their home earlier, but what if that's not the case? He told us to imagine the person was a doctor trying to get to the hospital to see their patient who was in dire health or about to deliver a baby. Perhaps, it's an undercover police officer or volunteer firefighter responding a call. Also, what if that person is trying to get to the bedside of a dying relative to say their last goodbyes? Of course, then there are people who are not in a hurry at all. I have friends who hover behind the car up ahead. When the lead car changes lanes or turns, my chauffer immediately zooms up to the next car and hovers. That's how they drive. No hurry. No aggression. Just pacing. If someone's tailgating and you find that annoying, move over and let them pass. It's the safest thing to do. Slamming on your brakes can cause a collision that you may be found at fault for because you stopped, not for a hazard up ahead or a traffic signal, but because you were being an aggressive driver. Hitting the brakes or giving gestures also may put you in the shoes of the two ladies mentioned above -- afraid for their lives. When a tailgater is showing signs of aggression and driving erratic, dial 911. Give a complete description of where you are, the offending vehicle and its driver, and let the cops handle it. It's what they do and it helps ensure you make it home to your family safe and sound.
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