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Updated on February 19, 2013

Get Off of my Rear!

We have all seen them. We have all heard about them, too. At times, we have been unfortunate enough to be victimized by them. Either that, or those of us not concerned about them are guilty as convicted of committing the offense ourselves. Who is the "they," you might ask? Hopefully, the title above is evidence enough, but for the very, very, very new young drivers who might happen across this hub, I will provide an answer anyway. "They" refers to tailgaters. If a definition is required, suffice it to say that a tailgater is the person in the car behind yours, who is so close on your "tail" that if you slowed down even slightly to spare a squirrel, the person behind you would slam into your car's rear end.

In this hub, I will list the evils of tailgating. Next, I will talk about the dangers of tailgating. (Evils and dangers are two separate things, in my mind.) I will then tie up this hub by speaking about what I see as the utter stupidity, irresponsibility and general depravity that must go into being a tailgater. And now, let us begin!

Tailgating Me? I can slow down, if you like!

One day, when I was a very young man, as my father and I were driving on home from work, we had the misfortune of being subjected to a tailgater. The man in the enormous Ford pickup had been on our tail by the space of about four feet for some time, and as we entered the country roads, he roared past us on his very first opportunity. Boy, were we glad to be rid of him! My father was so incensed about this, that as the Ford thundered past, my father showed the other driver the nice, lovely college ring on the finger between his pointer and the ring finger (hint: it was not the ring finger on which my fathers college ring was situated).

Not the politest thing for the old man to pull off, perhaps, but tailgaters have a way of bringing out the very worst in people. In my own driving experience, tailgaters have tempted me, time and again, to angrily show them the unpleasant side of my nature. It is all the more frustrating that, on the road, your options of doing so are limited to slowing down to annoy said tailgater, or in flipping him off should he go past. And in any case, it is best to remain as patient as you can, because getting angry on the road is a very bad idea.

This reaction by many to tailgaters is the first among the evils of tailgating, because when you are driving, being angry is one of the more common causes of distraction, and, thus, accidents. But tailgaters are also showing extreme discourtesy by tailgating. They are invading the private space of other drivers on the road, and that creates an uncomfortable experience. At nighttime, tailgaters headlights are distracting, and half of the time, they haven't even bothered to turn their bright lights off, which is even more distracting. The closest I have ever felt to being "tailgated" were in my days of junior high school, when the school was so crowded that people had no choice but to invade others bubble when changing classes. The feeling is very claustrophobic. But tailgaters don't often have the excuse of being forced to tailgate because of a crowded road.

And tailgaters aren't just annoying; They are also frightening, and potentially dangerous. They are, after all, very close to you, and should you need to suddenly break for any reason, in all likelihood, the person tailgating you is going to crash into you. So, tailgating is dangerous, both for the person being tailgated, and for the person doing the tailgating. At night, headlights can be distracting. A tailgater multiplies the distraction by many times. And tailgaters with their bright lights on are the absolute worst of all! I get enough of the bright sun in the morning, thank you, without having to deal with bright lights at night. Such distraction can be dangerous, and they are yet another way in which tailgaters are supremely unhelpful.

Not that tailgaters care much about being helpful. As mentioned previously, they are showing discourteous behavior simply by their tailgating. If they were thinking about anyone else but themselves, they wouldn't be tailgating, would they? Nope. To them, the conversation they are having on their cell phone is so much more important than their fellow drivers. They may or may not be doing other things, like texting, or eating a Big Mac. Whatever it is, they are concentrating on their own desires, not on the needs of others.

Tailgaters also seem to have places to go, and little time to get there. It doesn't matter if you are going 60 on a 55 mile road; They still are right up on you. They'd go 80 if they could get away with it. Now, what is so important that one must situate themselves as close to me as they can possibly get? I could forgive them if they were on their way to their wedding, or the birth of their firstborn child. But still, most people stay within a reasonable amount of speed. Tailgaters apparently have no use for speed limits.

Going to slow for you? Sorry, this excuse only works with little old ladies in their Lincolns. I go slightly faster than the speed limit on most roads, as do most other drivers. If I am too slow for you, dear tailgater, I'm sorry for the inconvenience and heartache I must be causing you. But you'll just have to live with it, until you can actually pass me.

Trust me. I will be only too happy to see the back of you.


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