She's had enough of tailgating bullies

October 10, 2003|by CATRINA COGHILL/Wheelbase Communications

I'm going to do something I should have done in grade school.

I'm going to stand up to all the bullies who threw their weight around - on the playground, in the lunchroom, and now on the road.

Get off our bumpers. Right now.

It wasn't funny then; and it's just plain foolish and dangerous now.

The rest of us have grown up, why haven't you?

Tell you what. We will not be pressured into driving faster than we feel is safe, just because you're on our bumper. We will merge into traffic when we feel it is safe to do so. And we won't be pushed into running a yellow/red light.

And if you don't like it ... that's just too bad. You can go around us, but we won't be bullied any longer.


Seriously, though, you thought you left the bullies on the monkey bars back in elementary school. Then one day, you're driving to work, the past behind you . . . but now so are the bullies. As in, right behind you.

Maybe it's the same guy who kicked sand in your face who's now honking at you to drive faster, and all of those feelings you had on the playground come back: I'm not good enough; I'm not fast enough; and my toys aren't nearly as cool. Too bad for the bullies that we're older, wiser, more confident and won't take their garbage anymore.

What IS their problem?

How about the inability to see beyond the narrow walls of their world? That's the only explanation for their lack of consideration for the way a "normal" person drives.

To all the bullies out there, open your eyes and realize that your inability to see outside of your little world is making your life miserable, not to mention the lives of those around you, not that you care.

Why are you sitting on someone's bumper at 65 mph?

Here's a better question: why should anyone in the world be intimidated by that? Does pushing people around really make anyone go faster or move out of the way? Does running them off the road make you feel good? Does causing an accident make you sleep better at night?

Many people chastise drivers based on age, young or old. Really, age has little to do with it. How able you are, and in this case, how sane you are, has everything to do with it. A lot of the nuts on the road are right behind you on your daily commute to work. And for them, I have this message: get in line, drive at a safe distance, or make a pass. Simple, but get off my . . .

Dear Bully, what you fail to see is what's right there in front of you.

Perhaps the person ahead won't chance an amber light because they have been in an accident (or understand the consequences). Maybe it's because they don't drive cars that resemble tanks. Maybe, just maybe, the driver in front of you actually values his or her life and lives of the people they share the road with (I know, I know, "share" is a novel concept for bullies).

What gives YOU the right to endanger their lives?

And as a bully, how can you be sure of the condition of the car in front of you? Should you really be closely following that brand-new Corvette, a car that can stop from 70 mph in half the distance you can? Maybe it doesn't matter to you because, as a bully, nothing is your fault. You're more worried about whose to blame for your lot in life than the consequences of your actions.

How about tailgating that slow-moving half-ton that's packed with the personal effects of someone moving across town? Do you really trust that that barbecue won't hop out the back and come crashing through your windshield? Oh, or are you so angry that they're holding you up that you can't see it teetering on the edge of the tailgate?

How about that transport truck? The city bus? The kid on a bicycle? No?

If you really don't like the way the person in front of you is driving, do us all a favor and just move on. Frankly we've had enough.

Climb down from the monkey bars and think about what you're doing. It's time you gave other drivers the consideration, respect and space they deserve.

Catrina Coghill is a journalist with Wheelbase Communications. You can e-mail her at

© 2003, Wheelbase Communications

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