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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Back Off Buddy

I abhor driver’s that ride my bumper. It’s dangerous and illegal. I don’t suffer from road rage; however, if a driver gets on my tail, I soon become infected. My normal response, if I’m not alone in my vehicle, is to swear, complain and drive slower than the speed limit, which will tick off the Bumper Badger and provoke him into honking his horn and flailing his arms. When those tactics don’t get me to press my accelerator, he’ll either back off or become infected with road rage and illegally pass me while honking his horn, mouthing something I can’t hear and offer me some serious sign language. All this is ever so dangerous. But it gives proof to my passengers that the driver is everything I called him. After all, what sane person would pass you on a double yellow line, screaming goodness knows what, while flipping you the bird? The driver’s a menace! Where are the cops when you need them? I don’t, however, dare mention that it's ultimately my fault the other driver was coerced into behaving that way because I dropped to 10 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour zone--enough to try a Saint’s patience, I’ll admit.

When I’m driving alone and have a Bumper Bully, I’m a bit more assertive. I spike my brakes while looking into my rear-view mirror, so the other driver can see my face and I put my fist up to the mirror, with my thumb facing toward him, while mouthing, “Back off!” Sometimes the Tailgater will oblige (probably because he thinks I’m crazy) and put a safe distance between us. Every once in awhile I’ll get a wacko that will purposely stay on my tail end, so, I’ll hit my brakes a few more times and perform my mirror ritual. He finally realizes I’m not going to stop spiking my brakes and he’s going to end up running into the back of my vehicle. He either backs off or he gets so irate he illegally passes me, with his mouth going a mile a minute and his hand performing sign language. These guys just aren’t creative. But again, this procedure isn’t safe and since I’m always preaching safety, I’m breaking my own rules.

So, how did I eradicate Tailgate Terrorists? Up until recently, I was at a loss and alternated between my Granny Driving and Brake Spiking whenever one of these morons got too close for comfort. However, coming home from downtown the other night, with a Bumper Bully no less, I had an epiphany. Rather than risk something dangerous by inflaming the idiot behind me and have him pass me illegally, or worse, run into my back end, I decided to cautiously act like a drunk driver. How does a sober, in control driver act like a drunk driver? Well, she slowly drives toward the berm of the road, without actually driving onto the berm, then slowly from the berm to the double yellow line, without actually crossing the line and then back to the middle of the road. Looking in my rear-view mirror I saw the Bumper Bully about five car lengths behind me. It worked! He was off my tail end.

If you find yourself a victim of a Tailgate Terrorist, cautiously act like an out of control driver and he’ll back off.


  1. I get frustrated in traffic just as you do, but I gotta ask, try a different tactic. The person who gets riled is going to stay that way for a while and be a general menace. There is some sort of instinct to avoid being blocked, perhaps from latent memories being chased by saber-toothed tigers or fleeing creeping suburban sprawl. Whatever it is, it's wired in.
    Yup, tailgaters are bad drivers, but it works better to change lanes and let them go, secure in the knowledge that they're no longer your problem.

  2. But won't somebody call the cops on you if you're acting like a drunk driver?


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