Driving Rant: Break the law that doesn't threaten my life!

This has happened to me more than once, and I’m sick of it. I’m gonna get the bastards back by … anonymously posting about it on a message board they probably don’t read!! That’ll show them! Dickwads!


On the interstate near my house, the left lane is HOV during rush hour. Rest of the time, anyone can drive in it. At least three times, I’ve been driving in the next to left lane, behind a car or in a line of traffic. Each time, I’ve been driving at a decent speed, nothing excessive (70-72 mph in a 65 zone), and been driving at the same speed as the cars in front of me. Further, each time the left (sometimes HOV) lane has been completely clear.

And each time, some moron zoomed up behind me and starts tailgating me, aggressively.

The only explanation I can think of is that they thought the (clear) left lane was still HOV, and it would be illegal for them to pass me on the left. Well, guess what, shitheads, tailgating me is illegal, too! If you are going to break a goddamn law (or at least think you a breaking a law), break the law that doesn’t threaten to cause a wreck and kill me.

Ha! Gotcha back!


I think the most effective part of my revenge post was the excessive use of exclamation points!!


Revenge is a dish best served anonymously on a message board.

What was wrong with the right lane that you couldn’t be in it?

Actually, there were two lanes to my right, both with traffic going slower than myself and the car(s) in front of me. Ya see, I moved to the left to pass cars going slower than myself. The tailgaters had the same option with me - move to the left to pass me.


This should be on a sticky at the top of the Pit.

A couple things, speaking from experience:

– It might not be free without creating a traffic situation as bad or worse than the one you’re in currently. If the traffic in the righthand lane is doing your standard freeway “gentleman’s tailgate”, you could only “safely” move over to the other lane by moving over, then braking to create a relatively safe distance between the three cars.
– If the driver, like most aggressive tailgaters, was in an SUV or wide pickup, it may be impossible to see other lanes clearly.
– Even if the other lanes are clear, if you were to move over to the right, what’s to say that the aggresive driver, who has already demonstrated lack of concern for life, would suddenly decide to pass on the right at exactly that same time? (Changing lanes is a dangerous enough part of driving without having to worry about tweaking assholes jumping around lanes.)
– Even if the lanes are free, moving over would accomplish nothing in the grand scheme of things, since there was already a car in front of the OP. The OP has no moral requirement at all in this situation to move over. From a safety position, IMHO, it’s about a wash depending on the exact situation, especially if the right hand lane is taken up with reasonable dense traffic and you can create some buffer room between you and the car in front of you to compensate for the tailgater.

Easy solution: slam on your brakes.

The trick is to hit the brakes just hard enough so they’re forced to slam on their own brakes, possibly weave and skid out a bit, but not so hard that they actually HIT you. But even if they do…it’s their fault! Muahahaha!

Exactly. Of course, I got yelled at the last time I suggested that here…

First of all, what’s HOV?

What if you moved into the left lane, and let him pass you on your right? Passing on the right is considered less than ideal, but probably better than tailgating.

High Occupancy Vehicle. The car pool lane. Cities give preference to people that carry passengers during rush hour.

If you’re in a little car, and they’re in an SUV, this may not end up mattering all that much to you.

Actually, Sua’s excuse (more or less equivalent to your first item) is really the only valid one. If the lanes were clear, you shouldn’t have to move into them, because you should already be in them. Sua was passing slower traffic, and there’s no rule I know of that suggests you should yield to tailgaters on a highway, only that you should stay right except when passing.

Bad advice, both practical and legal. Doing as you suggest may cause the tailgater to hit another driver, lose control, or get hit by someone behind him. Also, depending on state law, a driver that hits from behind is not always at fault. There is usually a rebuttable presumption of fault, but if he can show that the car he hit braked deliberately, or without reasonable cause, he may shift liability to the car in front in some states.

Slowly back of the gas. Always make sure that you have a lot of space between you and the persons in front of you. Encourage them to pass and do not change lanes yourself.

They will endanger others, but take pleasure in not endangering yourself and family.


Go into the HOV lane, and slow slightly. Let tailgating jerk pass you on the right, and get stuck behind car in front. Re-enter the right lane behind him.
Then activate photon torpedos and vaporize the fucker.
Well I can dream, can’t I?

I am by no means an expert in this area, but if I am following someone so closely that I am not prepared to stop immediately without endangering other people or myself, how can it possibly be anyone’s fault other than my own?

So you are saying that if some asshole is tailgating me because I am driving the speed limit, and I decide to let him buy me a new bumper and claim I thought I saw a stray animal on the side of the road, I could actually be liable for the damage of the wreck? If so, that’s fucked up. When I am driving it’s my responsibility to assume that the driver in front of me will slam on his brakes at any moment and I must be prepared to deal with that without causing a wreck, at least in my opinion. Tailgaters are not following this basic rule of the road.

Airman, when I do pull over to let a tailgater pass me, I’ve noticed that he or she usually goes on to tailgate the next car in line. I’ve also been tailgated when traffic is either too heavy to change lanes or there’s no passing lane and the car that’s going too slowly (in my opinion as well) is one that’s 3 or 4 cars ahead of me. I have been known to point to the cars ahead of me to try and get across the idea that I’m not the reason traffic’s moving slowly. It even works fairly often, especially if accompanied by a tap of the brakes to widen the space between me and the car ahead of me and a subsequent adjustment to try and even up the space.

There are also some people I just don’t get. At least twice, I’ve been tailgated when there’s been a perfectly open passing lane next to me. Yes, I know I’m going below the speed limit. The first time it was because I’d just pulled onto the road from a stop sign and my little Geo Metro hadn’t finished accelerating to speed yet, even though it was trying hard; the second time was because the car four cars ahead of me was going the speed limit. From watching the way a certain gentleman drives, I suspect people simply have different definitions of what constitutes an appropriate following distance.

It’s far safer, and perhaps just as effective, to maintain your speed while flicking the brake pedal with your left foot.

Or turn on your lights. It makes the back lights light up, and lots of people assume it’s the brake lights. Plus, you don’t slow down.