Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The tailgater

Every time we hit the expressway our main aim is to move into the fast lane.  It has become a habit.  The slow lane isn't inviting at all because there are the 'too slow drivers' whose fastest is around the region of 80 kph.  You make yourself tired more quickly weaving in and out between lanes.  On top of that is the bumpy ride.  Having slow-moving and heavy vehicles on that side all the time probably wears out the tarmac faster.  There are always rough patches coming up barely a few months after each resurface.  So we keep on the fast lane and make way for speedsters when they show up in the rear-view.  Not quite a safe strategy, but then, out on the highway, when's it ever safe?

I was in the 65% seat as usual.  That seat is dubbed 65% because the vulnerability in case of a crash is roughly in that region.  My colleague was driving, and his usual speed was 110-130 kph.  Morning traffic around this time on the expressway was normal and easy-going.  But that morning our driver was a bit edgy.  I soon noticed why.  He was grumbling under his breath about some crazy guy behind us.  A tailgater.  He speeded up slightly.  The tailgater followed suit and kept sticking to our behind.  For us normal guys that's uncomfortable to say the least.

We braced ourselves for some quick change in our situation.  Soon enough, we noticed about a kilometer further down the road there appeared to be something not quite ordinary had just happened.  Our driver reduced his speed slightly but was on the lookout for a gap in the next lane.  He was an occasional tailgater himself, but he knew the hazards pretty well.  As soon as he got one gap that gave him enough clearance he cut in to it. 

The tailgater zoomed pass us.  He found himself staring at a couple of glaring red tail lights which were moving at less than half his speed.  Surprised, he swerved right with his tires emitting squeals and smoke.  His fender grazed the center guard rails and bounced back into the lane and 'swayed his dancing hips' a few times.  Somehow he managed to avoid major damage.  We could have given him a standing ovation, only we couldn't stand up.  We just clapped our hands as we cruised past him.  It was too dark for him to see our brief jubilation anyway.

By this time, in front of us was the site of an overturned truck with it's load of fruits and vegetables spilled all over the tarmac leaving only a small gap for us to pass through.

See ya Mr. Tailgater.  We may never meet again, but then there are your relatives who behave just like you out there somewhere.  They may not be as lucky.  That goes for us too, but we hope they give us a sign so we can avoid them.  We're not too eager to compete with them anyway.  We're allergic to sudden stops.


  1. 'Best way to deal with tailgaters (when they can't get around you) is to leave and maintain enough room in front of you for both of you to brake safely when in an emergency. Also, try not to focus too much on the rearview mirror and not paying attention to what's in front of you or you risk having to do hard braking and end up getting sandwiched.'

  2. I would give the tailgater enough space to let him pass. We have different objectives. My objective is my destination. His objective is his journey.