For all times we've complained "Where's a cop when you need one?" today he was there

Cruising back at the end of day from outer western bohunk, I became aware of a Nascar fan, except my name ain’t Richard Petty. Sniffy McSphincter decided that he wanted to get a few more MPG out of his Volvo by drafting. Seriously, there were times that he’d disappear from my mirrors except for the roof which I could see out the rear windows.

It didn’t matter what the speed limit was-55, 45, 35, he was on my bumper. Tapping the brakes made no difference, so I said screw it-you’re gonna do the speed limit or pass me, and there’s no legal passing zone for another 20+ miles, so it sucks to be you, and if you hit me, you’re fucked twelve ways for Tuesday.

You see, we were approaching a college town/tourist area and at this time of year I’m aware of lots of people who make stupid turns, stop without warning and so forth because they’re not from around here. It’s a fact of life, and I don’t want to hit anybody, and I’ve also gotten the shits of replacing rear bumpers owing to folks who like to try pushing me through intersections or signs because I stop.

On the outskirts of town, I saw a patrol car on my side of the road and pulled off, asking the officer if he wouldn’t mind having a chat with Sniffy about the definition of “proper following distance.” “Sure, but pull in behind me after I’ve stopped him.” The officer collected my cards after getting those from Mr. McSphincter, and explained that he’d need me to come to a hearing if a citation was contested, and so forth. He took down my info, and told me I could go. :smiley:

In advance, I know some will bitch and say I should have pulled over, but the question is why? I wasn’t breaking the law by impeding traffic, nor was I creating an unsafe condition by traveling under the speed limit, so take that dog home, he won’t hunt here. On a multi lane highway, go ahead and do a hundred miles an hour-it’s your ass, and the ass of whomever you hit, but don’t bitch when you happen to get stuck behind someone who’s simply obeying the law.

Just a guess, but if this is happening to you a lot, it might have something to do with the way you drive.

If it was just hyperbole, carry on…

So could you pull over at any time, or only when it was funny?

What ? If you drive at the speed limit and stop for red lights and stop signs like you’re supposed to, it’s OK for someone to rear end you ??

Excellent! I don’t think anybody in the history of Atlanta has been ticketed for tailgating; nice to think it’s happening somewhere.

Drafting. And in a Volvo, too. snicker

[spends several happy seconds musing upon Sniffy’s state of mind upon realizing (a) there were flashing lights in his rear view mirror, (b) exactly what the cop was pulling him over for, and (c) that this was going to mean a definite ticket, and a day in court if he chose to fight the ticket, during which time you personally would be there to tell the world what an asshole he was, drafting, in his Volvo.]

Yes, he drives poorly–he believes in actually slowing down and stopping for yellow lights, not to mention refusing to do the civilized “rolling stop” thing at stop signs. What an asshole. How dare he impede the progress of busy people behind him who don’t have time to stop for every friggin’ stop sign and red light between here and Bohunk?

Good on you, Dances. That’s all I got to say.

I applaud your work. That is pretty awesome.

However, don’t be surprised if the ticket won’t stick, even with your witnessing. If the cop didn’t actually see the tailgating, it’ll be hard to justify the citation. And since you pulled over to talk to him, it would seem he wouldn’t have had the chance to see the close following.

Not necessarily. I drive over the speed limit, and I still get tailgated, a lot. It would be an unusual day if I didn’t get tailgated. I’m getting really tired of it. My life is complicated enough–I don’t need to waste time getting my car fixed because some tailgating idiot ran into me. It’s just plain stupid.

Just a guess, but you sound like a “blame the victim” kind of guy.

In this situation, I tend to allow the driver to pass me as soon as possible. It’s much more relaxing not to have someone riding my ass for 20+ miles.

I don’t understand. If you pulled over to talk to the cop–why didn’t Volvo just keep going? Was he stuck to your bumper in some way? He should have passed right by you, if he was right behind you and you pulled off to speak with a cop.
I sympathize with your frustration, but am scratching my head over here.

It sounds like the OP was being tailgated, then saw the cop, then pulled over to talk to the cop while the tailgater continued on.

The cop then took off and pulled over the tailgater, and the OP pulled in behind the cop.

The following is not clear:

(1) whether the cop actually witnessed the tailgating or was relying on the OP’s hearsay in writing the citation; and

(2) whether the OP was in the fast lane of a multi-lane highway and refused to yield to faster traffic approaching from behind.

Without knowing exactly where danceswithcats was, it is still safe to assume that he was driving on a two-lane highway, either state or federal. In my experience, there is not a lot of shoulder room lots of times on those little Pennsylvania highways, though I suppose if you really wanted to you could pull off in one of many interminable little towns that suddenly drop the speed limit from 55 to 25. But why should you have to do that? If the guy wants that badly to pass, he should find a spot where you’ve got a passing lane and use it.

I don’t have to; I want to. I remember what some of those Pennsylvania roads are like too, and I would much prefer not to have some numbnuts riding my tail for 20 miles taking up 50% of my driving attention. That’s just me, YMMV.

I have to second Martiju’s question. If the issue of bumper damage is just hyperbole, then it sounds like danceswithcats is just a particularly cautious driver, and no worries (although I would prefer not to be stuck behind him or her. However, I would say that most people stop or slow down as appropriate in response to signs and road conditions without getting hit from behind. If this is happening to danceswithcats enough to get “the shits”, I would say he or she may be somewhat more of a hazard.

A friend of my in-laws was bragging over dinner one time about how he’d had someone on his tail through a succession of twisties on a Cornish road “but when we reached the straights, he didn’t have the power to get past”. If someone behind you thinks he can safely go faster than you - even if you’re already at the limit - what’s the point in blocking him? (Assuming it’s physically possible to let him pass.) It’s not going to make him a better or safer driver.

Re your questions: I don’t know what length of time the officer had to witness vehicle separation as we approached-it’s his call. At that point, the highway was 2-lane, previously it was 3 lane with center for left turns only.

I wouldn’t say that I’m overly cautious-just a realist that driving inattentively or too fast for the speed limit/conditions increases your likelihood of hurting someone else or yourself. Not to mention spending more on insurance.

As far as bumpers are concerned-(1) stopped at traffic light, asshat decides to push me through it, (2) braking to stop for light, asshat uses me to help him stop (he had no license or insurance), (3) paused at ‘Yield’ sign because, uh, other traffic had the right of way, drafting girl was impatient and thought she’d help me along. I like to drive my truck, not repair it.

Just want to point out first that I’m not blaming the victim!

However…On the roads I drive (admittedly, mostly interestate, but some locals), VERY few people drive the speed limit. To that point, it would probably drive me nutty if some smug limit-follower was ahead of me (not to say that DWC was smug, it just sounded that way toward the end).

Now that I think of it, I dont’ think anyone follows the speed limits around here, even on side streets. It’s always about 5-10mph above.

I say follow the flow of traffic.


In a similar situation to yours (but at night) I was in a shitty mood, so instead of “tapping” my brakes, I hit them pretty good and nearly got rear ended. I was chuckling about the other driver crapping his pants, when I saw lights in my mirror. The other driver was a cop. A tail-gating cop.

I told the cop I hit my brakes because I saw a deer. He was pissed off, but couldn’t really do much. He knew I was lying, but if he ticketed me it probably wouldn’t stand up in court. :smiley: