Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Driving safe (& satisfying)

While I routinely drive a few miles per hour over the posted limit (hey, I'm a prosecutor, I know the law, and I fully believe I am complying by driving at a "reasonable and prudent speed under the circumstances then and there existing" -- but that's for a different article), I am hardly an aggressive driver. Aggressive drivers scare me, the ones that weave in and out of traffic and (my own personal pet peeve) tailgate if you are not going fast enough to suit them.

Tailgating particularly urks me, because the offending driver is endangering not only themselves but me and any passengers I might have. So I'd like the tailgating to end, but I also don't feel compelled to hurry out of the way of the idiot drivers -- no sense rewarding bad behavior.

When tailgated, I used to tap my brakes a couple of times without slowing -- to let the driver know I was aware of their presence and thought they were too close. On rare occasions, this would solve the problem, if a driver were merely inattentive but otherwise well-intentioned. I've come to learn it has no affect on the intentional tailgater; in fact, it would often anger them further that I knew they were there and wasn't moving myself out of the the way for their smugly entitled impatient selves.

So, how to get them off my tail without rewarding them, while at the same time avoiding road rage? It's not perfect, but I've settled on this: if I'm going to be in an accident, I reason, the chances of it being severe decrease the slower the vehicles are traveling; therefore, I slow down -- gradually, of course, so hopefully the trailing idiot might think it's unintentional. Usually just slowing down a bit to the actual speed limit is enough to exasperate them into going around me.

I have to admit it can be satisfying to watch the driver in my mirror -- out of the corner of my eye, so it doesn't look like I notice them -- get frustrated over the obstacle in his path and work to find a way around me. It's a double bonus if they change lanes and I can speed up again -- gradually, of course, so again the idiot will think it's pure coincidence. The problem gets solved without road rage, and I get to torment a bad driver in the process. Win-win all around.

Until yesterday, with a scary freak of a driver actually leaned out of his window and stared death daggers at me when he finally passed. I may have to act more unintentional.

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