Pet Peeve #2: Tailgaters

December 8th, 2006.

At around 11pm last evening, I announced, “I’m going to Walmart!”

Husband: “Why would you go to Walmart?”

V: “Because I want to buy a book and all the bookstores are closed.”

Husband: “They don’t have books at Walmart.”

V: “Yes they do. I’m sure they do.”

Husband: “Have you seen the roads?”

No, I had not. In cold weather, I rarely leave the house….instead opting to stay in bed and whine about how much I hate the winter season. However, I was bored and I convinced myself that if I was going to stay in bed, I might as well have a few books to thumb through. It’s too bad that I didn’t come to this conclusion early enough to run to Borders, though.

Within seconds of leaving my driveway, I realized that my husband was right and the roads were shit. I clutched the steering wheel like a life preserver and slowed my speed dramatically. Immediately, someone started tailgating me.

Now I’m a temperamental little bitch and tailgating in particular usually sets me off. I don’t respond well to common scare tactics used on the road…especially when the bully is a barely cognizant moron lacking in time management skills. I was driving slowly because the roads were icy and unsafe. Excuse me for not wanting to risk my life so some idiot could shave 2 minutes off of his driving time.

Swearing to myself, I clutched the steering wheel and briefly considered doing what I always do when I’m being tailgated.

Normally, I slam on the brakes.

Since I’ve been driving, I’ve done this more times than I can count. Technically, I’ve caused many traffic accidents. Legally, however, I’m in the clear since when you rear end someone, it’s always your fault. A person has got to maintain a safe following distance. Besides, the look on someone’s face when they finally realize that their aggressive driving just cost them more time is very satisfying.

The first time I did this, I was 19 years old and traveling to a strange city to pick up a friend. I was in the fast lane on the express way because apparently I was going to have to veer left soon. However, the slow lane was more than clear should anyone want to pass me that way. Some fuck started tailgating me anyway and for reasons unbeknownst to me; he refused to pass me in the slow lane. So, I reduced my speed.

Mr. Tailgater didn’t like that very much and inched up even closer to my ass. To really prove his point, he started flicking his headlights on and off. I gave him the finger. He responded by laying on his horn.

Livid, I picked up my cell phone and dialed my friend’s phone number. “I’m going to be late,” I calmly told her, “I’m about to get into a traffic accident.” Then I turned off my phone and slammed on my brakes.

After a brief squeal of tires on pavement, we collided. I got out of my vehicle and looked at my bumper. It was a plastic one and it actually held up pretty good considering. Both of my tail lights were broken though and my trunk door was a little bent. But all in all, the damage was so inconsequential that I decided that I could live with it. His car, on the other hand, was a good 2 feet shorter than it was originally.

A middle aged man strode angrily over to me and screamed, “Oh, you are in so much trouble now!”

“We’ll just see about that when the cops get here,” I replied, “Call them.”

He did and the cops showed about 15 minutes later. The officer asked us what had happened and the man blurted out, “We were driving and she just stopped right in the middle of the road! For no reason!”

The officer looked at me and asked, “Why did you stop?”

Slowly, I looked around the scene of the accident. Like I said before, we were on the express way. On both sides of the road there were immaculately kept plains of grass. Not even a single piece of garbage was visible anywhere for miles. Finally, I looked back at the police officer.

With a bored sneer, I rolled my eyes heavenward and sighed, “I thought I saw an animal.”

The man lost his shit and screamed, “You bitch! YOU DID THIS ON PURPOSE!”

The officer grabbed him by the forearm and escorted him to the police cruiser. He wrote him a ticket and later that week, I collected $700 from his insurance company for my trouble.

I wish I could say that that was the only time I did something so reckless. But truth be told, I’ve been rear ended so many times that I lost count. Like I said before, I’m a temperamental little bitch and over a decade of life experience has not matured me in the least.

In fact, I had a fresh incident just a couple of months ago.

My brother and I were going to lunch together when some guy started tailgating me. I glanced in my rearview mirror and saw a white guy driving one of those trucks that are all pimped out like a straight up gansta would do right out of Compton.

“What a fucking tool,” I muttered to myself as I slowed my car waaaaaayyy down.

“What are you doing?” My brother asked.

“Diddy back there is tailgating me.” I answered.


At that point, Diddy started flicking his lights on and off. So I slowed down some more. He gave me the finger. So I slowed down some more. He rolled down his window and screamed something intelligible. At this point, I would have slammed on my brakes, but something about the way he was freaking out gave me a pause. Instead, I reduced my speed to about 15 miles an hour. We were in a 45.

“Maybe you should just speed up,” my brother urged me nervously, “That guy looks pissed.”

“No. Fuck him.”

We were on a single lane street and he legally couldn’t pass. The road was very windy and there were a lot of bridges around that obstructed the view, so it just wasn’t safe. But Diddy was pissed and he swung into oncoming traffic to attempt it anyway. Problem was a semi truck was currently dominating that lane and Diddy was 5 seconds away from certain pulverization before he jerked his wheel back into his own spot.

“Wow! That guy is fucking crazy,” my brother exclaimed. “If you don’t speed up, I think he’ll actually try to ram into you….”

“Fuck him.”

The guy was obviously unhinged and he was making me nervous as hell, but I was determined not to be bullied. We went on like this for a couple of miles. Me traveling a slick 15 miles an hour and Diddy screaming out the window at me, honking his horn, and shaking his fist in white trash frustration.

Finally, FINALLY someone slammed on their brakes. But it wasn’t me; it was Diddy. He came to a complete and sudden stop right in the middle of the road and went into a fucking rage. He started pounding on his steering wheel with such a fury that I was sure he was injuring himself. He thrashed around in his truck for a few more seconds and then did a U-turn and sped away. No doubt on his way to beat the shit out of his wife or something.

“Fucking lunatic,” I whispered.

“No doubt,” my brother answered, “I think I wet my pants a little.”

Anyway, that’s what I was thinking about last night when some asshole started tailgating me on my way to Walmart. I thought about Diddy and wondered if the guy on my ass was just as crazy as he was. I wondered what would have happened if Diddy and I collided that afternoon. Would my head have suffered a similar fate to his steering wheel? Thoughts like these kept me from slamming on my brakes and causing yet another accident. I made it to Walmart without incident.

By the way, the book selection at Walmart sucks. Unless you’re into trashy romances and baby naming guides.

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