Monday, March 1, 2010

Goin' Down The Road, Feelin' Bad

The only north-south road that goes into the area I live, Colonial Road, is generally well-patrolled by our local police.  They rigorously enforce the 35 mph speed limit -- go much over 40 for very long and you will almost certainly be ticketed.  With my daughter about to get her driver's license, I am trying extra hard to be good behind the wheel.  Plus, since I travel Colonial Road regularly, I know that there is almost always a police presence and I don't need any speeding tickets, thank you very much.

And yet.

Just about every single time I travel down that road, I am tailgated.  So is my wife.  It makes her crazy.

I have undertaken an experiment in which I am traveling Colonial Road doing exactly the posted speed limit.  If it's the stretch where it's only 25, I go 25.  If it's the long stretch of intersections where it's knocked back to 30, then by gum, I am doing 30.  And under no circumstances am I going over 40 even at the bottom of some not inconsiderable hillage.  And it seems to be driving people absolutely batshit crazy.

I don't get it.  Unless every single tailgater is new to the road and has no idea that they will almost certainly be stopped for speeding, which in my area has GOT to be impossible, these drivers HAVE to know what the limits are.  And being licensed drivers they HAVE to know the dangers of riding someone's rear bumper so closely that said someone cannot see their headlights in the rearview.  And yet they persist, in daily infinite variety, to hug my trunk.  Some go so far as to pass illegally (which on the winding two-lane that is Colonial Road is INCREDIBLY dangerous) or will pull into a turn lane next to me at a stoplight so that they can roll down the window and curse at me in full road rage glory.  (This actually happened to Megan, my wife, who is a scrupulously careful driver, but you get my point.)

I think I'm going to go back to driving at around 40.  I think it'll make me less likely to be the victim of some loon with too much testosterone and a gun, while rendering unto Caesar the approximate obedience to the rules of the road that Caesar and the township require.  And maybe I'll get one of those electric smiley-face things from that can be programmed to scowl at tailgaters and flash the message "back off!" 

I try to live my life according to the Golden Rule, I really do.  I feel that it's the only ethical rule that makes perfect sense to anyone, in any culture.  But these asses who tailgate my family and me are making it very, very hard.

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