Tailgating: get away from me.

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Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby oak » July 30th, 2013, 7:49 pm

I am a fit, vigorous 37 year old man. I carry myself with confidence.

But man do tailgating drivers make me anxious!

I am very tetchy about my personal space; I have a certain aura that I don't like people to invade, uninvited. A man has to be given his space.

But my gosh, do people love to pull up right the fuck behind me.

I do not judge or criticize usually people who smoke cigarettes or talk on their cellphones.

But I get doubly nervous when people smoke or talk on their phone when right the fuck behind me. I'd rather them focus on not plowing into me.

On a little lighter note, one day last summer I was getting gas. A young fellow started the pump for his car, got inside his car, and started smoking.

"So this is how my story ends" I thought to myself.

Sometimes I want to curl up in a fetal position in the corner and whimper to myself.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby kitkat » August 6th, 2013, 11:19 am

Oh my god, how can someone smoke at a gas station! I get nervous just from people using their cellphones there. :X

Tailgaters are horrible. Walking tailgaters too. :P Or people who walk in front of you and abruptly stop. Whyyyyy.
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby fifthsonata » August 6th, 2013, 12:14 pm

All I could think when I read that is "That's when you slow down and let them ride you. Hey, if you get a new car out of it, a big plus!"

Sometimes you just want to hit someone and say "The fuck's wrong with you?!"
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby Zed » August 24th, 2013, 3:55 am

I can share the personal space issue, i just cannot understand why people feel the need to stand so close to me when speaking. I often back off slightly, to which they close the gap, and shortly afterwards i physically push them a foot or so back. Can be socially awkward to push people back a few feet (Gently of course, not a big shove), but i would rather people look at me funny, than step on my toes breathing up my nose.

You need to set yourself a bubble of personal space. For most people, i think it is a foot or two on average, but you must also understand that your bubble does not extend over your vehicle once you get inside it.

Try these three things:

1. (My personal preference) When someone gets too far up your arse, slam your breaks on for no more than a second, then accelerate again. Should make them think twice, plus if they crash into the back of your car, it is their fault.

2. Remove your rear view mirror, or point it to the roof. It is a pretty irrelevant mirror anyway. Side mirrors and over the shoulder checks are the safest way to drive. That way you won't be constantly checking it to watch that guy behind you.

3. Take extreme driving/rally driving courses. You will learn how to control your car in a much safer way in the most extreme circumstances. Might help to put your mind at ease, knowing that you can safely control your car, even if you get into an accident.
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby Cheezy » March 20th, 2014, 11:01 pm

I see tailgaters as bullies trying to manipulate me into getting out of their way. When I'm tailgated, I don't give them what they want. If they're really bad, I take my foot off the gas and just let them dick around behind me all they want. Tinted windows have helped my anxiety by having a bubble of privacy. Without the tint, I feel like I'm on-display in a fish tank.
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby Mike » April 4th, 2014, 9:05 am

I hate when it's done to me and I feel really pressured and anxious. But I try to remember that sometimes I do it myself without realizing it and that maybe the guy behind me is the same way.
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby oak » April 19th, 2014, 10:11 am

Thanks for your replies to my post here. I think about this post every day.

Every day people tailgate me. It continues to fill me with anxiety.

I freely admit that now and then I can be That Guy when driving. For that I sincerely apologize.

However, here are some bitter thoughts I've had the last week about people tailgating me:

1. Taking my car in for repairs this week, I discovered my car needed a sway bar and new brake lines. Just before I took the car in to be repaired I realized that I did not have complete control over the car as it moved side to side (since fixed). Soooooo, tailgating jerks were betting their lives that:

a. I wouldn't suddenly brake.
b. I had complete mechanical control of my car at all times.

Two idiotic assumptions for a behavior that offers zero benefits and risks the lives of many drivers.

2. Today I was turning right onto a road. Staring left, a car passed me okay. I turned right, onto the road, and a pedestrian my age yelled at me, super angry that I nearly ran her over. It is true that I did nearly run her over. Of course, the woman had to actively walk toward my car rather than the abundant space in any direction that wasn't where my car was headed. It was the traffic version of "Stop hitting yourself". In other words, I acted like something of a jerk because she took the agency to not anticipate/expect that I would turn right, even though my turn signal was on and my car was bearing right.

Alot of my adult life I spend asking "What can go wrong in this situation? If so, what simple steps/actions can I take to avoid or mitigate the oddseffects of a bad outcome?"

In other words, she could have avoided a situation that upset her had she taken careful, prudent observation of what was likely in that situation. I feel sorry for her. There are alot of troubled people out there, people who create problems for themselves.

Also, in September 2004 I thought I was going to die when hit in the rear by a hit and run driver. So yeah, tailgating is a trigger for me. (Need I mention that the police [who are usually very helpful to me! :)] and insurance agency treated me like the criminal?)

What makes me sad: nothing is gained by tailgating. Further, one never knows if the car being tailgating is able to not stop unexpectedly, and is trusting that the tailgated driver is paying super close attention, considering that there is a ton of steel behind him going 65 mph right behind her/him. Further, the tailgaiter assumes that the tailgated won't find said tailgating extremely upsetting and everyone ends up in regrettable, wholly preventable situation with no gain for anyone.

What I wish, I so deeply wish is to live the Jeffersonian ideal, the idea of that movie "Gladiator": all I want is my whole world to be a little farm somewhere. I'll be king as far as the boundary of my little farm. Give me a pretty little wife, and maybe a few children. I don't want to bother anyone or be bothered. Words can hardly express how deeply I desire to be left alone.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby oak » May 24th, 2014, 6:15 pm

I have come to some sort of peace/acceptance of my situation.

Tailgaiting is stupid, reckless, pointless, and endangers my life. It serves no purpose.

Since I enjoy my job, I see tailgaiting and the possibility of an accident, injury, or death as an acceptable risk. Price of admission. I am taking concrete steps to improve my ability to be employed in the suburbs or rural areas.

In the meantime, I had the following experience:

A few weeks ago I was driving into work. They had one lane closed for construction. A construction worker was directing traffic, and he thought I was going too fast for the work zone. I honor his responsibility to create a safe space. I'd have accepted it had he flagged down a police officer to ticket me. Such is the responsibility of driving carefully, which I violated in his judgment. (Objectively was I driving especially fast? No. But he is the person in authority, and I agree to such authority in order to drive.)

Let me thread this needle:

I honor him in doing his job as he sees fit.

What I do not honor, in him as a person, is *how* he did it:

With a look of pure hatred and bitterness, he said: "Slow down!"

Again, ticket me? Fine.

Try to take away my dignity. No.

In that moment, I looked at him and knew: "I will never be you. Never."

In my experience I have a seen a number of men in their 50s and 60s (not all certainly, but enough to see a trend) who are bitter and try to belittle relatively young men (I am 37).

Right or wrong, I've come to believe that something happens to men that embitters them.

All I know is that I want no part of that. I want to be a happy 60 year old.

What I am getting at is that tailgaiting, reckless driving, and traffic jerks is all a stupid game that in no way offers me anything I want. If I will end up like that guy, I won't play that game.

I am happy to endure traffic stupidness for my current job. But give me a chance to work in said suburbs and the urban area will be incredibly successful in chasing away another talented, tax paying young person.

This post is a little more negative than I feel about traffic: I am indifferently numb to the whole stupid game. I've got better things to do.
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby Cornflake Girl » May 30th, 2014, 10:40 pm

Hello, oak. I just wanted to post a quick reply. I, too, have a lot of anxiety about tailgaters. I turn my mirror up so that I can ignore them and try not to obsessively think about them behind me, being all irritated and judgmental of me and my driving. That fear of judgment is the basis of my anxiety.
While I understand the desire to spite them by pissing them off further by slamming one's brakes or slowing way the heck down (as some have suggested), I see that as passive-aggressive behavior and therefore unhelpful. Although getting a new car out of the deal seems like a great perq, it might be helpful to keep in mind that 1) if they're jerky enough to be jerky tailgaters, it's unlikely that they will stick around to share their insurance info in the event of an accident (or if they do, they will most likely be Huge Jerks about it), 2) insurance companies only pay the Blue Book value of your car before the accident occurred, and 3) the headache, time, and energy of dealing with the results of the jerk-face's asshattery could be avoided by simply pulling over and letting them go by.
That was in no way a "quick reply" *grin*
Anyway, good luck to you in dealing with this irritating and frustrating situation. Peace.
Mantra: I am enough. I do enough. I have enough.
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Re: Tailgating: get away from me.

Postby oak » May 31st, 2014, 9:31 am

Cornflake: I send you honor and respect.

Thanks for your post!

I thought of it three times today: while driving to the park, the bank, then the library I was tailgated by reckless fools, who I dishonor.

Somehow it helped me, it disassociated me from their choices to think: "Oh yes, this is what Cornflake warned me about".
"Work is love made visible." -Kahlil Gibran

"We gotta make a decision: leave tonight or live and die this way." -Tracy Chapman
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