Tailgating: gateway to road rage

By Nick LaRosa
February 16, 2011

Have you ever had the misfortune of glancing at your rearview mirror to see nothing but the front windshield of the car driving behind you?  It’s called tailgating and, at times, it can be the most frightening ordeal for a driver.

If you need a more concise definition of what tailgating is, it is when a driver follows another automobile too closely, a practice which often increases the chance of an accident or collision.

Not far removed from road rage, tailgating driving is dangerous, pointless, annoying and extremely frustrating to deal with.  Need I say more?

I am a commuter and spend over an hour a day driving, and tailgating is something that I, unfortunately, see fairly often.  I personally don’t have many pet peeves, but unnecessarily tailgating me, or another driver for that matter, is at the top of my list.

The big question for me is always this: what is the point of tailgating?

Chances are the driver behind you is probably impatient, running late or just enjoys the company of your car’s back bumper. Or, another logical answer, they simply don’t like following the rules of the road, such as the posted speed limit.

In my experiences with these annoying drivers, the speed limit definitely has something to do with tailgating.  Me personally, I try to stick around the posted limit because speeding tickets are not something I want to have added to my record.

Unless you are driving severely under the speed limit, tailgating shouldn’t even be an issue.  There’s just no reason to and it is always a dangerous and unjustified driving practice.

The most terrifying ordeal of being tailgated by another driver often has to deal with the type of car a driver has.

At least it does for me. Probably because my microscopic Honda Civic doesn’t exactly have the fear factor of a Hummer H2 or Cadillac Escalade.

According to SmartMotorist.com, “those that drive family & economy cars tailgate less than those who drive sports cars and SUVs by a ratio of 2 to 1.”

If you are going to drive in this manner

because you have an SUV or some type of luxury vehicle, please consider that you are not the only ones on the road.  You aren’t superior to the rules of the road.  The type of car you own doesn’t entitle you to drive maniacally.

Certainly, tailgating is not only an issue with those who drive larger vehicles, but sometimes it feels that way.  No matter what car the motorist behind you has, tailgating, unfortunately, has become practically inevitable.

Driving like this is very similar to road rage, and there is no reason to risk innocent lives because you are in a hurry or can’t tolerate the speed limits.  A tailgating driver in your rearview mirror inflicts panic, which sometimes can cause you to drive with more attention on them than the road.

The worst part about being tailgated, in my eyes, is the shear terror it can bring upon someone.  This is especially true if you are minding your own business and driving safely when someone comes out of nowhere and glues their automobile to your back bumper.

Unfortunately, some people drive like this all the time; you can’t just make the issue disappear overnight.

We always think about the dangers that cell phones and alcohol cause when put into play behind the wheel, but did you ever stop to think that you, the driver, might be increasing the risk of a major accident every time you sit behind the wheel?

Nothing good ever comes out of tailgating.  If you are in a hurry or have road rage, don’t blame the car you’re stuck behind.  Blame yourself for your reckless driving, because you are only increasing your chances of getting in an accident over something that shouldn’t even be an issue in the first place.

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Nick LaRosa

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