Sunday, April 02, 2006

Could you please stop tailgating me?

You know who you are. You're male, you're female, you're in high school, you're in college, you're middle-aged, you're single, you're married, you're white, you're black, you're Latino, you're Asian, you're blonde, you're red-headed, you're brunette, you're Catholic, you're Protestant, you're Jewish, you're atheist, you're agnostic, you're Muslim, you're in great shape, you're a fat slob, you're disabled, you're a smoker, you're a vegetarian, you're a drinker, you're drunk, you're high, you're a teetotaler, you're early, you're late, you're pregnant, you're divorced, you're intelligent, you're moronic, you're working, you're looking.

You're anyone and everyone, and I'd really like it if you stopped riding my ass.

What exactly is it about "two car lengths" that you don't understand? You know all those accidents that you see and hear about? Sometimes they're fender-benders. Sometimes they're serious. But nine times out of ten, they're caused by someone who's following too closely.

If the person in front of you has to stop suddenly, for whatever reason, and you're following too closely, you're going to rear-end them. And the asshole following too closely behind you? Gonna rear end you too. And you're going to get out of your car pissed at the person who stopped in front of you so suddenly, and you're going to be pissed at the person who was following too closely behind you, and you won't even stop to think that, gee, maybe I actually did something wrong here. No, you'll start yelling, and the person in front of you will yell back, and the guy behind you will yell, and everyone will be yelling until someone pulls a gun because that's the way we handle things here in America.

And this all happened because you had to get whereever you were going that much more quickly. The asshole in front of you wasn't driving quickly enough for you, therefore you had the right to get your bumper a foot and a half away from his. "But come on, Jeff," you say. "He was doing 70 in the fast lane and I wanted to do 80!"

Do me a favor. Slow the hell down a little bit and back off. Two car lengths. That's all I'm asking for. Oh, and when you see me giving two car lengths between me and the guy in front of me, that's not an invitation to you to speed up, get around me and squeeze yourself in between. So please don't. I'm not going to do anything if you do, other than slow down and put two car lengths between you and me so that when you rear end the guy in front of you I don't rear end you.

Just do this for me. If not for me, for the pregnant wife in my passenger's seat and our two darling girls in the back. I'm the one in the blue '05 Subaru Outback. You won't be able to miss me, because I'll probably be the only one giving some space between my car and the car in front of me.

Back off, please.

Oh, and one other thing: Those big semis out there? The ones giving two to four semi lengths between them and the car in front of them? Yeah, I wouldn't advise you to cut in front of them, especially on a busy stretch of road. It takes them a lot longer to come to a stop, what with eight tons of truck and cargo moving at 65 miles per hour.


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