Patterico's Pontifications



Filed under: Miscellaneous — Patterico @ 12:01 pm

Hugo, in the comments to the entry immediately below, suggests a better way to deal with tailgaters: let it go. Don’t play games with people using your car. Upon reflection, I believe Hugo’s solution is better than mine.

Hugo’s comment caused me to remember that once, when I used the “dirty up the tailgater’s car with windshield cleaning spray” ploy I describe in the post below, the guy became so enraged that he zoomed around me and slammed on his brakes, creating a very dangerous situation for both of us. If I had simply let it go, I could have avoided the danger.

I had my revenge anyway. Weeks later, I saw that same guy standing on the side of the road, speaking to a cop about an accident that he had been in (and had probably caused). It wasn’t a serious accident — both drivers appeared fine — but there was some property damage. I didn’t have time to stop, but I later phoned the police agency, described the accident and the guy, and told them that the guy was a menace and had probably caused the accident. Even if they never did anything with that information, the fact that he had been in an accident (with all the attendant hassle, increased insurance premiums, etc.) was revenge enough.

I just felt sorry for the other guy in the accident.

Anyway, I hereby endorse the Hugo Method for Dealing with Jerks on the Road. Let it go.


  1. Thou hast honoured me with thine nod. I hope to be able to remember the “Hugo method”

    Hugo (2fabc6)

  2. Whoa, dude, lighten up. Just because some people like to go to pre-football game parties, doesn’t make them evil. They just want to groove in the fresh air and….

    Huh, what’s that? Oh, that kind of tailgater.

    Screw ’em. I’m trying to mount a rear pointing laser on my Accord.

    Happy New Year.

    Peter Sean Bradley (ceabbe)

  3. As a long-time motorcyclist, I’ve learned over the years that engaging is a tempting – but losing – proposition.

    I’ll suggest Drive to Survive, by Curt Rich (; he makes the point that a good driver (or rider) should be like an infantry scout – moving through the environment seeing, but never seen, and without engaging what you find there.


    Armed Liberal (653cd1)

  4. Next time you’re on an LA freeway (e.g. 405) in heavy traffic, take note of the mode following distance. I believe you will find it’s about 2 car lengths at anything short of 65.

    Leaving significantly more room only means someone will fill the space, and the cars behind will be swinging out to pass the retrograde car, which only increases congestion and danger.

    Which brings up the question: Given the current custom, what do you consider “tailgating”?

    Kevin Murphy (6a7945)

  5. I can’t give a clear definition. As Potter Stewart said of pornography, I know it when I see it. If you are filling up my rear view mirror, I don’t like it.

    Patterico (f7b3e5)

  6. Drive to Survive is one of my favorite books!

    Hugo (926825)

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