Social Question

ubersiren's avatar

What's the most dangerous "mistake" that you often witness drivers doing?

Asked by ubersiren (15193points) April 20th, 2010
226 responses
“Great Question” (10points)

Hey you! When you make a turn from a multi-lane road onto another multi-lane road, do you stay in your own lane or do you just go into whatever lane your Tourette’s takes you? Well, huh?!? This illustrates what I’m talking about. (I found this on a thread on

If you do the one on the right, I just want to tell you that you make me very angry and you could possibly bang up your car or kill someone.

What else do bad drivers commonly do that will probably kill someone one day?

Discuss. And get angry! For safety.

Observing members: 0
Composing members: 0


Rarebear's avatar


jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

The worst thing is when they realize that they need to turn quickly, and have to jump over 2 lanes in a matter of seconds. No planning or foresight, just “Oops, don’t mind me, I wasn’t paying attention. I’ll just cut you off so I can make my turn lane. Thanks!”


lilikoi's avatar

In that scenario, the risk exists only if the people making right and left turns in the diagram are allowed to drive simultaneously, which is not always the case, and if there are cars in both positions. Sometimes there aren’t any cars coming from one direction, and there is no risk, or the left turners do not go at the same time as those turning right.

I hate when people cut you off, then immediately slam on their brakes.

Trillian's avatar

I see people pulling out in front of me without looking and they always act surprised, then angry at me for passing them with about three inches of clearance. Idiots. I hate braking for any reason.

Coloma's avatar

Arrrrrrgh! My two biggest driving pet peeves….no turn signals and driving too fast in parking lots!

Jesus mercy of god, it’s a freakin’ wonder some people ever get from point A to point B in one piece! lolol

Oh, and of course….tailgating…..I especially hate driving my country roads with deer leaping across the road when someone is right on my ass.

I always love it when someone else is leading the parade.

andrew's avatar

I really hate people that follow too closely. I wish there were stiffer penalties for that than speeding.

john65pennington's avatar

Lane switching to make an exit off the interstate. man switched over from the HOV lane, across five lanes of traffic to make an exit. five or six cars hit their brakes to avod a collision. i issued him a state citation that cost him $1,200.00 and three points on his drivers license. his auto insurance cancelled on him.

Blackberry's avatar

Being old….lol. Who the hell slows down from 50 to 25 to cross some damn train tracks…..

jaytkay's avatar

Tailgating. On the expressway people follow other cars way too closely.

Somewhat less dangerous but very common – running red lights.

Mildly dangerous but really annoying – inability to use a turn signal.

ubersiren's avatar

@lilikoi It can be dangerous if there are two or three people in turning lanes from the same direction. Haven’t you ever sat at a light, waiting to turn, and there’s a line of cars to your left or right waiting to turn the same direction? Turning into the mall? If someone from that other lane doesn’t stay in his own lane when turning, he could hit you.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@andrew I agree. We were rear-ended years ago by a lumber truck. Nothing makes me madder than tail-gating. Also people who don’t use turn signals.

partyparty's avatar

People admiring themselves in their mirror, putting make up on, or combing their hair.
Just not concentrating on the driving at all Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!

ubersiren's avatar

Also, people who stop at the end of an on-ramp instead of speeding up to the flow of traffic.

gtreyger's avatar

Drinking and driving. Worst mistake EVER!

Lightlyseared's avatar

People who think that just because their car is capable of going at 150mph that they are capable of driving at that speed.

eden2eve's avatar

Tailgating. Failing to use the turn signal. Changing lanes without checking for upcoming traffic.

Someone who decided I drove too slowly (I was driving the speed limit) changed lanes, sped up to cut directly in front of me, then put on the brakes and drove really slowly. Immature and dangerous!

On that occasion I was angry enough that I almost followed them into the parking lot of the store they went to and had a discussion. But since I’m small and a woman, and this was a man, I decided that wasn’t my best idea.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Driving with two feet instead of one. Whether you drive a manual or automatic, one foot is designated for gas and brake. During a panic brake so many people stamp with both legs forward onto the pedals and cause their cars to accelerate while the brake down makes it spin or flip depending on the road conditions and how fast they were going before the braking.

tragiclikebowie's avatar

I hate when people don’t keep the same speed when driving up a hill. Or when they break for NO REASON. Or ride their breaks down a hill. Or speed too fast around blind corners and happen to drift into MY LANE while I’m coming around the same corner. Or drive too slow. Or drive too fast. Or don’t pay fing attention when they change lanes/merge.

Oh yeah, let’s talk about people WHO DON’T KNOW HOW TO MERGE. This is probably the thing that pisses me off the most. They merge onto the highway like you’re in their fucking way and YOU should brake for THEM. People need to learn who has the fucking right of way. Also they stop at the end of on ramps. Sometimes this is necessary on certain roads, but generally if there’s a YIELD SIGN, YOU YIELD. YOU SLOW DOWN AND LOOK, YOU DO NOT STOP. If you can’t look for other traffic and keep your car moving at the same time you shouldn’t be driving. I also hate people who can’t yield.

Sarcasm's avatar

Putting on makeup, or texting.

If you mean actual driving habits, rather than driving distractions..
I see a lot of people rapidly lane changing without turn signals, and it always freaks me out.
I hate the “rolling stops” at stop signs(here in SD, people prefer to call them “california rolls”, but I assume this is not unique to California at all).

Regarding right-turns on multi-lane roads, I NEVER right turn on red from the outside lane, period (to be fair, I don’t come across this very often where I live, anyway).

erichw1504's avatar

People who drive straight through this middle lane in a parking lot near me. I’ve almost smashed into them five times now. And usually they don’t even bother to look left or right before barrelling through.

phillis's avatar

First of all, the pretty lights on your car are not there for decoration. Use your damn turn signals!

Secondly, do not whip over into the fast lane, then keep pace with the damn car your were originally behind. Some of us have lives to lead, and we would really like to get on with it. Just because you think 45 mph is a “safe” and “reasonable” speed doesn’t mean you’re right, ya rude bastard. How fucking hard is it to understand….


When on a two-lane road, if you feel like a Sunday drive and it’s only Wednesay, please pull your vehicle over to the side so that the 22 cars behind you can carry on. Fuck you, asshole! Move your motherfucking rude ass over. Prepare for 22 one finger salutes in appreciation for your self-centered mentality as we pass you.

When parking your car, please…...please…..PLEASE park within the lines of your parking space. Do not make me have to crawl into the passenger’s side of my damn car just so that I can get in. That’s how people’s cars get keyed, you thoughtless, ARROGANT jerk.

Lastly, hang up your damn phone.

CMaz's avatar

Not using turn signals.
Driving slow in the PASSING lane.
Holding a phone to their noggin.
Apparent rear view mirror only used for makeup.

Instead of going around, because you passed your turn. Hitting the breaks to make the turn.

Jibbah_Jabbah's avatar

One of the most dangerous mistakes I’ve seen drivers make is changing lanes after not looking over their shoulder to see if there’s another car in their chosen lane. Looking in mirrors is not enough to be sure nobody’s there already.

Taciturnu's avatar

Most common I’ve seen is just being a distracted driver in general. If you’re worried about your text message/coffee spill/screaming child, you aren’t focused on the road.

KatawaGrey's avatar

People who don’t use their turns signals on a highway are extremely stupid. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost gotten into an accident because someone leaped into my lane with no warning whatsoever. If you can wiggle your finger up and down, you can use your turn signals.

Put me down for tail gating as well. It is dangerous and scary and can cause both of us to be in an accident. I especially don’t get why people do this on multilane roads. If I’m going to slow for you, pass me! However, some tailgaters just want to go as fast as they can. If I’m in the left lane going 80, I’m going slow. If you’re going 100 and you have to slow down for me, well, I’m not going to speed up for you so you might as well pass me. Or learn to drive.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

No signals and tailgating .

Trillian's avatar

I was forced to create a web site for a class about a year ago. I called it “How not to be an idiot”. One page is devoted to the idiots we see on the road. This is a link to the driving page. The page after it gives tips on avoiding being a road idiot. I think it sums up veery nicely my sentiments about the issue.

mowens's avatar

Making me turn off my cruise control. I have KILLED PEOPLE FOR LESS!!!!

Ok not really.

xelpmoc's avatar

Getting in the car.

JLeslie's avatar

@ubersiren you mentioned one of my pet peeves in your original question, switching lanes when turning. Many people don’t even know they are supposed to stay in the proper lane I think, and then there are others who seem to be unable to execute a left turn properly. The start truning their wheel to quicjly, making it difficult to stay in lane.

Tailgating is really dangerous in my mind, but there are so many others that many people have mentioned above. Not stopping on the red before turning, not signaling (and I mean signaling before you start braking otherwise what the hell was the pioint?!) riding you brakes on the highway (usually because of tailgating), travelling at a much different speed than the traffic around you, talking on the phone.

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

Taking their eyes off the road and one hand off the steering wheel while reloading during a drive-by !!

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

the biggest mistake they make is being on the road when I am

beautifulbobby193's avatar

Changing lanes without signalling and driving like an Indy race driver in order to get one car ahead during traffic.

Cruiser's avatar

I have witnessed people sleeping behind the wheel drifting off the road only to be awoken by the rumble strips! What is wrong with these people??? ;)

Dr_Dredd's avatar

1.) The so-called “Pittsburgh left” (obviously, I learned of this in Pittsburgh): The instant the light turns green, the car going in the opposite direction will make a left turn in front of you, regardless of whether you’ve already started to move.

2.) TURN SIGNALS! (Yes, I’m sensing a pattern)

3.) Passing someone on the right because they’re going “too slowly”.

tedibear's avatar

Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting Tailgaiting.

Thank you for letting me get that out.

Buttonstc's avatar

Most frequent that I encounter is Tailgating. All the time on highways. And I’m definitely not a slow driver.

And when I flash my brake lights repeatedly, they don’t get it.

But every once in a while I see people texting. Good grief. How stupid and deludedly self important can you possibly be that you think people just can’t wait to read your precious pearls of wisdom.Good grief. Your job is to drive the car, you idiot.

Blackberry's avatar

@Dr_Dredd If they are going slow in the left lane, how else would you pass them lol….....

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Passing on the right is legal in some states (it is in MD and FL, and I think it was in NC and TN also, not sure about the states I have not lived in yet).

I have heard that some states or cities customarily let a person making a left go first before going straight. That could be scary if there are motorists on the street who are not aware of this assumptive behavior (is that areal term or did I make it up?). Michigan has a Michigan left. People from Michigan generally cannot figure out how to make a left in other states, they do not go to the left of the car in the median.

Mat74UK's avatar

Tailgating, changing lanes without looking, using the phone, lorries swerving into other lanes, LANE HOGGING (a British thing, the outside 2 lanes are for overtaking not cruising along in!) AND ALL THAT WAS ON THE WAY HOME FROM WORK TONIGHT!

Parrappa's avatar

I just started driving (permit) but I have to say tailgating. Very original I know.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

if you’d just get out of my way… we wouldn’t have all these tailgating parties

CyanoticWasp's avatar

Driving in front of me.
Driving behind me.
Driving alongside me.
Driving in the opposite lane.

But seriously… tailgating is probably the worst. But there are plenty of runners-up:

1. The guy who absolutely has to pass you at risk of life and limb… and then immediately turns off the road. Especially when he has to make a left turn in front of you on a two-lane road. I’d nuke ‘em. The one time I tried that myself, when I was 16 and driving on a learner’s permit with my Dad, he nearly took my head off after we stopped. I learned that lesson well!

2. Distracted drivers: reading (!!), eating, disciplining the kids, lighting up a smoke, texting (they’ll all die soon, but they’ll take too many of us with them), shaving, putting on makeup, even just talking… anything that distracts their attention.

3. People who are too afraid or can’t handle expected road conditions. We get snow in the Northeast. If people can’t drive in it, then they shouldn’t be out trying to… at 10 mph… when those who can do it safely can drive three or four times faster.

4. On the other hand, there are lunatics who think nothing of driving 40 or 50 mph or more… when visibility is down to a matter of yards. They’ll take a lot of innocent folks with them, too.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@JLeslie Remind me not to drive in MD, FL, NC, or TN!

beautifulbobby193's avatar

@cw you shouldn’t be driving in the left lane anyway unless you are avoiding parked cars or turning left, so if you get held up by a left turner it’s your own fault (even if he came from behind you).

Factotum's avatar

Nose-picking. Your no-longer future soul mate could be in the next vehicle over!

cockswain's avatar

I was in the back of my buddy’s girlfriend’s car and she was driving. My buddy was riding shotgun, another friend in the back with me. Anyways, the stupid girl gets on the interstate going the wrong way and the guy riding shotgun notices after she’s already on the road doing like 55 and there are cars coming towards us, still a bit off. He yells, “hey you’re going the wrong way!” and she responds by taking both hands off the wheel, covering her eyes, screaming, and flooring it.

There is no possible worse reaction to that situation.

My buddy yanked her leg off the gas, and steered the car to the side of the road. She still wanted to drive, insisting it was her car, but that wasn’t allowed by any of us.

DarkScribe's avatar

What else do bad drivers commonly do that will probably kill someone one day?


snowberry's avatar

Two things bother me.

1) the police (apparently ALL of them in my state, because I’ve seen many different agencies represented) hold themselves above the law, and speed with the best of them. But God help the rest of us if WE are caught speeding. We get a ticket.

My message to the POLICE: If you’re going to speed, put on your lights, or stay the speed limit. By doing otherwise, you are cultivating my contempt for you!

2) I hate tailgaters. I have to wonder if the police aren’t actually part of the problem. They certainly don’t set a good example. I’m seriously thinking of putting a large bumper sticker on the back of my car that says, “I BRAKE FOR TAILGATERS!” On numerous times, when I have been going the speed limit, and had to pull over for more %$@ tailgaters, I get the dirtiest looks from them. As if I’m the jerk.

CMaz's avatar

I really hate when this happens.

Trissinger's avatar

Not checking their ‘blind spots’ at all when lane changing—-OR partially ’‘checking’ a blind spot & ending up nearly hitting the car they would have seen if they’d checked properly, when they do make the lane change. X(

deni's avatar

i always notice, when i’m in the passenger seat, that a lot of people i’m driving with will get over into the other lane before they look behind them. they do it kind of at the same time, but the moving over always begins juuust before they see if anyone is behind them. it seems really dangerous to me.

philosopher's avatar

Failing to turn off the single is dangerous because no one knows what you plan to do. If you go straight for a long time with a blinking single light on. Not singling a all or too late. Driving too close to another car is dangerous but around here it is the norm. Cutting someone off or speeding up to prevent someone from passing.

Fred931's avatar

My parents letting me drive. MUHUHUHUHUHUHUHUH…

HungryGuy's avatar

Driving at night with just “parking” lights on. I see this all the time!

philosopher's avatar

Many people around here never turn their heads.
Lurve for you.
Nice to see you posting here.

Coloma's avatar

Just yesterday I was merging onto the freeway with the car in front of me going maaaybe 40 mph…..I normally have no road rage issues, just talk to the other driver to myself, lol…but this person was really getting on my nerves…RAMP IT UP POKEY! haha

snowberry's avatar

LOL @coloma were you tailgating him? HA ha ha ha

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

Texting, talking, driving too slow, driving too fast, unsafe lane changes, tailgating other cars, cutting people off, pulling out in front of someone last minute, driving drunk, driving high, blasting music, applying make up, eating…Does that just about cover it?

philosopher's avatar

Talking or texting while driving has to be the worst thing of all.

mollypop51797's avatar

On a road, with a double solid yellow line. The guy behind you passes you. AAHH!! Driving to slowly. Phone/texting! Drunk driving, or driving under the influence etc. I could go on and on and on and on…........

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Rolling the stop sign at 25 MPH while talking on the phone.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Why does it bother you so much? We are talking about the highway right? No matter what don’t you have to check all of your mirrors before you change lanes. Or, does it concern you because traffic is entering the highway from the right? Technically you are not supposed to be passing or changing lanes to pass on the right if there is a lane for entering cars, it is considered akin to changing lanes in an intersection, a no-no. I don’t know if you can get a ticket for it, but that is how it is taught ay minimum for safety reasons. So, densely populated cities that have exits every half mile you really can’t pass on the right by default.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Texting has been shown to be 2x more dangerous than drinking and driving and 4x more likely to get into a crash in general. So I have to say texting.

But the user who said those jerks who just have to pass you no matter what gets serious lurve from me. I hate that!

filmfann's avatar

The answer I wanted to give to this question is the answer you list in the details.
Those people are idiots.

Blackberry's avatar

@mollypop51797 Hopefully the people that do that actually know what they’re doing, but if it is a straight road and there’s no one coming, those two solid yellow lines don’t mean anything. It’s just paint…........

Ron_C's avatar

The most frequent mistake that I see is committed mostly by women. They use the fast lane as if they own it. They drive slower than traffic in the other lanes and get nasty if you flash your lights at them.

snowberry's avatar

@Ron_C That’s probably because you’re on the look out for bad women drivers. I assure you, there are bad ones of both persuasions in equal numbers.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Thank you for mentioning flashing your lights. I wish they would flippin’ teach that in driving school so people realize they have an alternative to tailgating.

I actually don’t find that women drive slowly in the fast lane, but I do agree that women tend to be more distracted when driving.

snowberry's avatar

Aggressive drivers come in both sexes, especially when they are on cell phones.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry I agree both sexes screw up on the road. But women more often than men seem to be taking care of the children in the backseat, and not paying enough attention to the road, or some doing two things at once. I actually think cell phone users are not agressive, they are usually distracted, many times driving slower than traffic, or doing last minute stunts, like crossing a bunch of lanes because they are missing their exit.

snowberry's avatar

@JLeslie This morning I had one on my tail so close I almost couldn’t see her headlights. She was jabbering away on her cell at the time.

I know cells are bad for driving, but what do you do when you’re lost and trying to find an address? A cell phone can be a life saver.

Trillian's avatar

@snowberry, pull over to take the call.

Ron_C's avatar

@snowberry I didn’t intentionally look for them. I have driven 6500+ miles this year and haven’t counted them but can assure you that there is probably about a 75% chance that the person holding up traffic in the fast lane is a woman. I can’t say why but just not it the next time you are on the interstate.

DarkScribe's avatar

@snowberry She was jabbering away on her cell at the time.

Buy yourself a cell jammer on eBay. They are illegal, but how are they going to catch you if you only use it in your car? I have one and they can be fun to play with. Walk into a Coffee Shop and turn it on then watch everyone start shaking and tapping their phones.

snowberry's avatar

When I’m lost, pulling over doesn’t work. And when I’m lost, I’m not taking calls, I’m lost and trying to get unlost, so sometimes I make a call. In a perfect world, nobody would use cells while driving, but sometimes, it’s necessary. I don’t chatter when driving.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@snowberry I don’t see why you can’t pull over. How does that not work? You can pretty much always pull over or if you can’t you can drive a couple miles then pull over. It is not necessary to talk and drive.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@JLeslie What is this flashing lights thing about?

snowberry's avatar

@RedPowerLady Sometimes when I’m lost and my GPS is in the other car, or dead or something, I’ve had to call my husband and get help to find an address. The only way to do it was for him to stay on the phone and tell me where to make my next turn, because folks don’t put up street signs. I’d tell him where we were, give him the landmarks, and he’d tell me where to do. It would have been absolutely impractical to hang up every half mile so I could drive.

@DarkScribe, Yeah, and I could go on and on about all the chauvinistic men who cut me off and tailgate me, who drop their cigarette buts out of the window and so on…

JLeslie's avatar

@RedPowerLady You would use it in the left lane (passing lane) on a highway/interstate. If you are behind a slower car, it is understood that if you flash your brights (high beams) at the car in front of you, that they should move over to the right to let you continue at your faster speed. What is not polite is to flash someone when it is impossible for them to get over. You should wait until traffic on the right opens up and they can comfortably change lanes. This is much safer, because you can stay at a safe distance, rather than tailgating, and still indicate to the person in front of you that you want to go faster. Some cities do it more than others (growing up in DC typically people did move over for people who wanted to drive faster). In some countries it is more customary than others. I think in Germany it is very common (someone can correct me if I am wrong) it makes sense since they travel the highways at very fast speeds.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@snowberry It may be impractical but it also may save lives. Better yet though your hubby can just tell you the landmarks by memory. You know we all survived fine before we had cell phones. Research has found that talking and driving is the same as drinking and driving in terms of accidents.

@JLeslie Oh well thanks for the information. I had no idea!

snowberry's avatar

The difference is, I don’t chatter on the phone while driving. I use it to find a place, if I have to, which is rarely. But if you want to lump me in with all the others who do abuse it, go ahead.

DarkScribe's avatar

@snowberry I could go on and on about all the chauvinistic men who cut me off and tailgate me, who drop their cigarette buts out of the window and so on…

You can determine chauvinism from a person’s smoking and driving habits? Impressive!

snowberry's avatar

Hey, if you can be sexist, so can anyone else. That’s what’s fun, right?.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@snowberry It doesn’t matter how you use it, it can still cause accidents. Pretty much every person out there thinks the same as you. What they do is okay. What others do is not.

Resonantscythe's avatar

“Oh, hey! Don’t mind me I’m just cutting you off leaving the barest space between you and myself and then slamming the brakes even though you’re in the FAST LANE. oh, yeah! Almost forgot, no turn signals because, really, who can move their finger over an inch? It’s exhausting! Like running a marathon, Not for me. What? an accident? nah my magical douche-fuck license will protect me from any of THAT silliness. ”

snowberry's avatar

Of course using a cell phone while driving can cause accidents. But when my GPS isn’t working, I guarantee you, if I’m trying to find my way around, without help from a cell phone, I’m a worse driver, especially when street signs are so rarely found. Honest. But as I said, I rarely use a cell phone while driving, and then only for emergencies

DarkScribe's avatar

@snowberry Hey, if you can be sexist, so can anyone else. That’s what’s fun, right?.

When was I sexist?

WolfFang's avatar

After my mom honks at people for using their cell phone, for like texting while making a dangerous turn, THEN, they wanna turn to the side and dog you for like 30 secs. not even watching the road.I’m like, seriously? btw @snowberry that’s what handsfree devices are for. And if you have the luxury, one of those cars with GPS screens in ‘em

RedPowerLady's avatar

@snowberry Well we must simply have to agree to disagree. Having said that I am glad that you limit your usage.

@WolfFang GA!

philosopher's avatar

@JLeslie @snowberry you are correct.

JLeslie's avatar

@philosopher Oh, which things was I correct about?

snowberry's avatar

@DarkScribe, Sorry my comment was directed to

@Ron_C ”...them but can assure you that there is probably about a 75% chance that the person holding up traffic in the fast lane is a woman. I can’t say why but just not it the next time you are on the interstate.” Ron, Maybe there are differences in driving habits between the sexes, and maybe not. If so, I’d rather deal with someone going slowly in the fast lane than a tailgater any day.

And by the way, I’ve noticed plenty of slow ones who are male (they are often older). I’m not buying your percentage.

Coloma's avatar

Well….now that we’ve all had our say….thing is, WE have all been one of these crappy drivers at one point or another! lol

But hey, it’s a vent. hahaha

WolfFang's avatar

@Coloma actually no, I haven’t, cause I don’t have a drivers license! haha!

Coloma's avatar


I confess, that pokey merger yesterday…I had an overwhelming impulse to just ram them up to speed! hahaha

Coloma's avatar

How ‘bout a twist to the question…or would that be a new question? haha

Has anyone ever run over their own pet?

I did.

Tragic. :-(

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Coloma No haven’t done that.How did that happen?

I am however guilty of being the super slow driver especially at night or in poor driving conditions. Sometimes I am courteous and will pull to the side so people can pass but often there is no safe place to pull over or none I can see when it is very dark out.

philosopher's avatar

Both sexes have there share of bad drivers who are distracted,overly aggressive or simply stupid.

JLeslie's avatar

@philosopher I agree. I would say men tend to err on being aggressive, and women tend to err on being distracted. But I have no factual data on it, it is just an observation of mine that has no validity really. Just my opinion :).

Ron_C's avatar

@snowberry you are going to force me to actually count. I am on a business trip now so I’ll check as I drive to the next site. Two things:
I low balled the estimate because I never really counted but the percentage is pretty high.
The old man comment is true, they are very good at obstructing traffic. By the way, there would be a lot less tailgating is people weren’t obstructing traffic.

JLeslie's avatar

Tailgating actually slows traffic overall. There are people who study this, study traffic waves. Every time someone brakes, it causes the people behind to brake and in the end an overall slowing of traffic. If everyone kept resonable space from the car in front of them, then sudden braking is less likely, and overall traffic can move faster.

Ron_C's avatar

You are right, it does slow traffic, still it happens and it is almost always a result of someone being in a lane where they don’t belong.

I would further stipulate that I don’t believe tlarge rucks should be in the fast lane for any reason except to avoid an accident. I am pro-railroad and think that the only use for trailer trucks is to transport goods locally. The rest is just a waste of energy and costly damage to the highway system.

Blackberry's avatar

Maybe if we raised the speed limit we could prevent more tailgating then? One of the reasons slow people are slow is because they are afraid to go 10 over lol. I propose making it illegal to do the speed limit in any left lane lol.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

The idea that “slow people cause tailgating” is a myth. The fact is that tailgaters will always be tailgating… and bitching about “that guy ahead of me going so slowly”. They’ll just run up to whoever is ahead of them and start that idiocy all over again.

I can’t even count the number of times I’ll be on an interstate in heavy traffic (and with no “clear lane” ahead of me) and some yahoo will come roaring up my tailpipe and start flashing his lights at me to “move over” ... because I have left two car-lengths between me and the guy ahead, to give at least minimal separation. He wants to be in that space. He has to be in that space.

And as soon as it’s safe for me to pull over and let him go by, he can have it. But it does irk me.

If I’m behind a slow driver on a road where passing isn’t possible, then it’s time to put on some classical music, open the windows, drop back and enjoy the drive. There is absolutely no point in—or excuse for—tailgating.

Ron_C's avatar

@Blackberry I have always thought that the only reason for the speeding law was for profit.

With regard to speed there are only two safety considerations, obstructing traffic and driving too fast for conditions. Speed limit signs should be used as guidelines only.

Special efforts should be made to keep people that repeatedly obstruct traffic permantly off the road. By they way I am not talking about special trucks that move bulk, heavy object. I mean the little old lady or man that gets on the highway and drives 20 miles an hour under the speed limit, especially when they get in the fast lanes.

philosopher's avatar

People here are rude and young men are aggressive. They talk on their phones and text while they drive. They role past stop signs. They double park .
Young Women drive and put on make up.
It seems to be a lack of common sense and manners.
The police do nothing about here.
I reported that van which is still parked here. The registration is expired but they have not even ticketed it. It is easier to target people who go through yellow lights; because they do not want to slam on their breaks.

Coloma's avatar


I accidently backed over my little chinese goose Maybelline a few years ago. She was napping under a bush off of my driveway and I didn’t see her. So sad.

Coloma's avatar

I have had one parking ticket, and one minor rear ender in 30+ years. BUT..I have backed into all sorts of objects and have hit the same tree and my own gate and garage several times.

It is true that most accidents occur close to home. In my case, thay occur AT home! lolol

Infact, the latest was coming in from the airport in San francisco last month after a 12 hr. flight and another 2 hours home. Cut the corner on my garage and took a nice chunk out of the edge of the garage wall and scraped my car. Not bad, it buffed out well. hahaha

JLeslie's avatar

I agree with @CyanoticWasp slow drivers do NOT cause tailgating. Tailgators (sp?) are to blame. But, slow drivers in the left lane are guilty of being in the wrong lane, that is the passing/fast lane. If they are driving slowly in the left, then they don’t give a crap about basic courtesy on the highway, let along the specific purpose of that lane, and it is dangerous to do 55 in the left when the speed limit is 70, because it is likely the left is actually travelling at 75 or 80. I know people who will say, “let them go around me” that is simply irresponsible. If someone flashes you with their beams, move over! It is safer than the guy who wants to driver at a faster speed having to go around traffic. I am not defending some maniac driving at 95 MPH, he is being irresponsible also. I am just talking about 5–10 MPH speed differences.

Basic courtesy and awareness on the road that’s all that is necessary, and let go of the ego. If someone wants to go faster, let them go, why does it bother people to let others pass? It’s not a competition or race.

@philosopher I feel for you. It is sooo frustrating when the police do nothing and legally they actually can, but seem to choose to ignore a situation.

tedibear's avatar

On that flashing the high beams suggestion. I seem to only have people do this when I’m already going 75 in a 65 and have nowhere to go because the traffic ahead of me is only going 75. Where exactly does that person think they’re going to go if the 8 cars ahead of me are going the same speed? If I were hesitating to get in the right lane and was the only person in the left, I could understand it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@tedibear39 that’s exactly what I mean. What do those morons hope to accomplish? I let them go as soon as I can, and then I follow them (at a distance) as they continue to annoy everyone ahead of them—with no point at all except to suggest, perhaps that, “You’re all holding me up.”

philosopher's avatar

Sometimes I think those people are on drugs.
When I was in a bad accident years ago the women ran a stop sign. She said, she did not see it. She was stoned. The Police did nothing to her.
My Husband was driving. People that saw the accident wrote statements for us. They also told the police the truth.
They did not even test her. She was treated better than I was because; I was with my Husband.
The cops don’t see to care around here.

JLeslie's avatar

@tedibear39 As I stated in my expalanation to @RedPowerLady flashing beams is only exceptable when the person in front of you can reasonable move out of the way. If the lane to the right is not open for changing lanes whether it be dense traffic of a truck next to the driver, then the person who wants to go faster should wait until a reasonable opportunity presents itself for the motorist to move over. Flashing your head lights is in lieu of tailgating, so everyone remains at a safe distance. How can you be negative about that practice, I don’t get it? In your example maybe the person who is speeding is going at an excessive rate, like 90, which I agree is unsafe, he is wrong too, but I certainly don’t want him tailgating me. That idiot has no stopping time at all. Fine, if we crash it his fault for being reckless, but I would rather not be hit in the first place. Just let him drive ahead, let him pass. Why not? Is it your way of saying, “fuck you asshole, you should not be driving like that so I will not give you what you want?” That guy is not to be reasoned with, he is an agressive driver, and possibly you are an angry one.

tedibear's avatar

@JLeslie – No, I’m not trying to say “fuck you” to the other driver. What I mean is that I’ve nowhere to go. I should have clarified that I couldn’t get over to the right either. My bad. On the other hand, yes, I still find it irritating to have that happen because again, where is he going to go? Like you, I would prefer to not be hit. I would also prefer, although to a lesser extent, to not have idiots on the road.

One thing I have a question about, you said: “Flashing your head lights is in lieu of tailgating, so everyone remains at a safe distance.” That makes sense. Why is it then that the only people who do this (at least to me) are riding my bumper, again, with traffic in front of me and I have nowhere to go?

”...and possibly you are an angry one.” For the record, no, I’m not an angry driver. Promise. (Not that I think you could know that.)

JLeslie's avatar

@tedibear39 Angry was not an appropriate word I used, I should have chosen better. I did not mean it as accusatory, rather that it seemed you expected the perfect order of things instead working with reality. But, I do not think that is the case from your response. Of course, as you said, some people who are tailgating also flash their headlights, I think they are assholes for tailgating no matter what else they are doing, and I hope they are not confused with the guy who keps a safe distance, waits for an opportunity for the person in front to be able to move over, and indicates with his lights he would like to drive faster. We do exist I promise.

The one ridiculous thing about tailgating is the person doing it is relying on the car in front to actually be checking their rear view mirror, which many times I think people are not doing, especially if they are talking on the phone, texting, etc. Beams are much more effective if people would utilize it properly in my opinion.

Here’s the thing, it will never be taught in the US I think. Remember @RedPowerLady had never heard of it. I think a lot of people haven’t. So the car in front is thinking, “why is he doing that?” I once asked a drviers ed teacher why not teach it, and the response was, “you should give yourself enough time that i fyou get behind a slow driver it doesn’t matter.” Ugh! I mean that is not even talking about your example that you are already going 75, he is saying if the guy ahead of you is going 50 on a highway of a speed limit of 65 tough. The drivers ed I took years ago when I was 16, at least taught that driving more or less near the speed of traffic is actaully the safest speed most of the time. Again, I am speaking only of major highways and Interstates here.

I think you are mostly picturing he aggressive driver when you are already going very fast, I am picturing the guy who winds up behind a very slow driver. :). Either way, I let the guy who wants to drive faster ahead of me. I am not usually the one going very fast down the highway.

tedibear's avatar

“Beams are much more effective if people would utilize it properly in my opinion.” YES!

Luna's avatar

talking on the phone an dnot realizing that they’re going into the wrong lane.

ubersiren's avatar

I really love it when I’m stuck in traffic because of an accident, only to find, when I get to it, that it’s on the OTHER side of the freeway! The traffic I’m in is just because of rubber-neckers! People slamming on their brakes just to get a good look at the carnage on the opposite side of the beltway. Some of us don’t care and have places to be. Pay your respects when you get home and aren’t behind the wheel of a car.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Coloma so sad

I agree with @CyanoticWasp about the tailgaiting. They are the ones that cause the accidents not slow drivers. To say someone who is driving slow and therefore more carefully (in most but not all cases) caused the accident when the person on their butt was driving way too close and too fast is silly. Tailgaters just hate having anyone in front of them IMO.

@Blackberry I know you were half joking. But the reason I drive slow has nothing to do with wanting not to go 10 over and get a speeding ticket. It has to do with wanting to drive safely. For example in bad weather or at night on a curvy road, that type of thing. Or maybe because I have a tiny baby on board and would prefer to drive slower than faster. And it is actually illegal to go over the speed limit in the passing lane (at least where I live). So if someone is going the speed limit in that lane and trying to simply pass say a slow moving semi, give them a break. Let them pass and get back over.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@ubersiren I don’t even think they are paying respects. It always bothered me when people put their nose into accidents or watching someone who is pulled over. I know if it were myself or a family member I wouldn’t want people nosing in. I try to make sure everything is okay with a quick look and then drive on. I mean think about it, what if someone passed away, and you are nosing in just out of curiosity. To me, that is rude. Not to mention what you are doing to the people behind you on the road, lol.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, driving too slow is a real thing. Many highways have a posted minimum speed for safety reasons. Cars travelling at 70 cannot stop in resonable time if they come up quickly on a car going 40, and worse the car behind the one travelling 70 MPH is more at risk, because he cannot see in front of the 70 MPH car to estimate the traffic, he is relying on brake lights of the guy in front of him. But, I think most of us are talking about differences of 10 MPH more or less.

Blackberry's avatar

@RedPowerLady I understand, but what if it’s 70 degrees out with no clouds in the sky and you have no baby in the car? :)

JLeslie's avatar

@RedPowerLady But, you are right, we have to have patience for people who are using the passing lane in situations you describe like getting around a semi. As long as you get back over after passing him, no one should be complaining in my opinion.

Coloma's avatar

It’s also interesting how states differ.

I live in California. We are the speed freaks of the nation I think. lol

A few years ago I took a road trip through nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colrado & New Mexico.

I noticed throughout New Mexico the amazing short ( secinds) duration of the yellow yield lights.

A N.M. trooper laughed when I told him that in Ca. we are used to the yellow primarily meaning, gage the seconds and ‘go faster’...hahaha

I heard that Ca. knows their drivers will push the envelope, so to speak, so they make allowances in longer yellows.

Aaaaah…driving through Nevada & Utah…great fun, going 90 on endless stretches of desolate roads, completely carefree!

Coloma's avatar


I agree. I hate rubberneckers and am always overcome with an awful sick feeling when I see an accident. Makes me so sad and I always hope there are no serious injuries.

A few weeks ago I was passed by a caravan of CHP & fire trucks etc. obviously responding to an emergency ahead.

When I got closer that feeling of dread came over me, hoping I would not witness something horrible.

It was AMAZING, a small plane had landed on a freeway offramp, completely intact and undamaged! I was so surpised and relieved…talk about luck! Whew!

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Coloma That’s some good flying!

Coloma's avatar


I was blown away! Imagine trying to land on a California freeway…holy f—k! lol

Sarcasm's avatar

@Coloma 1 out of every 7 miles of freeway legally has to be straight, in case of the need of emergency landing for planes. So assuming there was no traffic, I’d believe it’s possible to land one.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Blackberry Then I probably wouldn’t be driving slow but I still have the “right” to drive the speed limit in the passing lane. KWIM?

@JLeslie Exactly!

@Coloma What an amazing story! I too am overcome. Me and Hubby have a habit of saying out loud “I hope everyone is alright”. It’s just our way of putting our positive energy out there.

Blackberry's avatar

@RedPowerLady I gotcha : ) But what the hell is KWIM lol?

gtreyger's avatar

@Sarcasm What law states that 1 out of every 7 miles of freeway has to be straight? I believe that what you are saying is completely wrong. Sorry.

WolfFang's avatar

@Blackberry I’m inferring it means “Know What I Mean?”

mattbrowne's avatar

Evading (small) animals. This can be safe depending on distance from the animal and speed. But in many cases it’s not and people get killed.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

My personal peeves are:
1. People who are more concerned with their cell phone conversation than they are with driving,
2. People who weave wildly in and out of traffic at high speed while talking on a cell phone.
3. People who tail-gate on a multiple-lane highway even when I’ve already pulled into the slow lane and already driving slightly above the speed limit.
4. People who think that ‘merging’ means to force your way into oncoming traffic at any cost. This appears to occur most frequently at freeway entrance ramps. Oncoming traffic has the right-of-way! Deal with it.
5. People who wait until the very last minute, pulling out in front of you and then proceed to drive ten miles an hour when it was obvious that there was a clear two-mile stretch of road behind you.
6. People on a highway (two lanes in each direction) who drive slowly directly beside another equally slow driver and refuse to move into the slow lane or anyone who impedes the flow of traffic by allowing a string of other vehicles to form behind them, whatever the speed limit might be. Move your ignorant ass into the slow lane or onto the shoulder of the road so that faster traffic may pass. I don’t have any problem with you or anyone driving slowly, I just resent being stuck behind your inconsiderate ass.

Any of the above are usually guaranteed to create ‘road rage’ or ‘fatalities’ under a variety of conditions.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly On the flip side, though, I’ve had people obviously accelerate to block me from merging. That annoys the hell out of me.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly Your number six pisses me off at slow and fast speeds! I mean where did these people learn to drive? WTF? Don’t people know you are not supposed to ride next to a car, side by side, if it can be avoided (in dense traffic hard to do).

philosopher's avatar

That is how many young males behave around here.
I actually had one jerk threaten me in the Parking Lot of my gym. I told him this my gym and he better live my car alone.
I said, shut up, or I will have my friends come outside and you will fear for you life.
They would not have hit him but the trainers look very intimating.
He said, this is a gym? I had to laugh and said, yes. My gym were all my friends are.
The jerk just walked away.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@Dr_Dredd – Yeah, I’ve had that same experience a number of times. That, or you go to pass a slower motorist and the jerk speeds up to keep you from getting over. Sometimes a simple boot to the head would suffice, sometimes it won’t.

snowberry's avatar

Isn’t anyone bothered by speeding? Why is it important to designate the left lane for people going 10 to 15 miles over the speed limit? At most I try to never drive faster than 5 miles over the speed limit. Anymore, and I’m inviting a ticket! Why would you get upset at someone driving the 5 miles over the speed limit in the left lane, unless you yourself were a habitual speeder? Do you hold yourself above the law? This, in my opinion, is almost as bad as tailgating.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Blackberry Yep @WolfFang is correct. It means Know What I Mean?

philosopher's avatar

Driving 101 teaches you not to tailgate.
Around here people always cut in front of me because I leave room.
I think people never comprehend that they can be hurt in an accident until they are.
This is a sad fact.

RedPowerLady's avatar

On the topic of merging. I always feel unsafe when stuck behind someone who is trying to merge at 30mph. I’m not a fast driver myself but do understand what the term “merge” means at least.

@philosopher I think people never comprehend that they can be hurt in an accident until they are. This is a sad fact.

I think you hit the nail on the head. The people I know concerned about driving safely in practice (not just in words) are ones who have first hand experienced how unsafe driving can be. I didn’t realize it myself until I got into a very scary accident.

philosopher's avatar

I wish the Police around here did that.

philosopher's avatar

I totally agree.
People do not seem to want to learn from other peoples bad experiences.
I always was cautious but after a bad accident. I am always on guard. No matter who is driving.
That is why we are taught history and why Children are suppose to have Parents.

gtreyger's avatar

@snowberry At most I try to never drive faster than 5 miles over the speed limit.
By driving even 1 mile above the speed limit you are breaking the law. You are driving five miles above the speed limit. It seems that you don’t see anything wrong with speeding. Do you hold yourself above the law? Because, in some people’s opinion, that is almost as bad as tailgating… ;-)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@gtreyger well said. Reminds me of a joke…

A rich man was being flirted with by a beautiful young blonde. He asked her, half-seriously, “Would you spend the night with me for a million dollars?”

Without hesitation she responded, “Absolutely! I sure would!”

He then followed up with, “Okay, then. Would you sleep with me tonight for $5?”

She answered with indignation, “Certainly not! What kind of girl do you think I am?”

His answer was swift. “We’ve already established that. Now we’re just negotiating.”

snowberry's avatar

@CyanoticWasp Hey, I totally agree with you! I would so cheerfully drive at the speed limit, but I find I am literally putting my life in danger to do so. It’s a no win situation. If I drive the speed limit on the free way I suffer the consequences of cars whizzing by on both sides or punishing me by tailgating, and I drive on the right or middle lane. God help you if you have an exit lane on the left side!

My other option is to drive with the flow of traffic, which if I’m fortunate is only 5 MPH over the speed limit, but is often closer to 10+ over the speed limit, and risk a ticket.

What gets me is that in my state, the police will speed without putting on their lights, will tailgate you, and anything else they darn well please, apparently with no regard to traffic laws. I’ve seen this same behavior with state police, county police, and city police. Doesn’t seem to matter. It appears it’s a speed suggestion, rather than a speed limit. When on residential streets I always try to follow the speed limit. I find that people routinely tailgate me, even in school zones. How stupid is this?

WolfFang's avatar

@snowberry it’s a good ol’ catch 22 huh. BTW, I’d like to thank all of you in this discussion, it’s really made me more knowledgable, considering how I don’t even drive yet.

john65pennington's avatar

Snowberry. police officers sometimes go above the posted speed limits for many reasons. the law allows them to do so, but only when on an official police call, and emergency call and catching up to speeders. safety at all times and emergency calls require blue lights and siren. police responses have three classifications: code 1, 2, 3. code one would be a report of a missing person, for example(low priority). code two would be a property damage accident, code 3 in-progress call, armed robbery(the most serious police calls).

If someone was burglarizing your home, how fast would you want the police to arrive? this is a good example of your answer. ASAP, of course. in order to catch the thief, siren and blue lights would not be activated.

So when you see a police car driving over the speed limit, its for a reason.

Most police cars now have GPS systems installed and the officer is accountable for his actions behind the wheel of his police vehicle.

snowberry's avatar

@john65pennington I absolutely agree that police should be able to speed, or do whatever they think they need to do to protect the citizens, IF THEY PUT ON THEIR LIGHTS! Heck, I don’t care about a siren, just give me some lights already! That’s my complaint, that around here anyway, they don’t.

If this sends the wrong image to those of us who really do want to obey the law, imagine the message it sends to the people who don’t?

JLeslie's avatar

The cop can put on his lights until he gets close to the residence, he does not have to drive the whole way like a maniac without any warning to traffic. The WORST is the cops not signaling when he is going to make a turn or change lanes, it really pisses me off the most, more than the speeding. You would have to be making sudden last minute not predicted turns to not be able to signal. Driving 90 miles per hour you can signal if you need to change lanes, and the tailgating by officers is simply unsafe, I can’t understand why that is ok?

@gtreyger Like I have said before, it is considered safer to go with the flow of traffic within reason. All I ask is if you are on the highway stay in the lane that is primarily going your speed, don’t go into the left/fast lane and be stubborn that you are driving the speed limit and everyone else is breaking the law. On local roads I am like @snowberry I stay within the speed limits the majority of the time, and in school zones especially. My house is in a school zone.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@john65pennington – says, “So when you see a police car driving over the speed limit, its for a reason.”

In some instances maybe, but far too many times, that reason could be because they’re in a hurry to get a free cup of coffee or a donut at the nearest convenience store or because they’re late for shift change. I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve seen this occur in my area. Ultimately, if involved in an official police action, they should indeed have the ability to drive as necessity requires but, like I said before, far too many times that is not the case. Cops in my town regularly drive ten or twenty miles per hour higher than the posted speed limit and nine times out of ten, you see them around the next corner cramming food into their face or joking around with other officers. The only benefit that I can see is that they issue less speeding tickets because they know this is true.

Ron_C's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly I had a friend that would follow police cars at whatever speed they were driving. When and if he pulled over, he would debate with the policeman saying that he was only following the police car’s lead. When the police told him he was driving over the speed limit, my friend would point out that when the police weren’t flashing their lights and there was no emergency, they were required not to exceed the speed limit like the rest of us.

He was mostly let off with a verbal warning (not written). He would fight and often win in court. When he did get a ticket the speed listed was invariably lower than the actual speed.

He was a gambler, I don’t have enough guts to make that my policy.

JLeslie's avatar

I went to drviing school for a speeding ticket I received many years ago. In the class there was a cop, I don’t remember exactly why he had to attend, I think he had an accident. Someone complained to him about cops ticketing for speeding when they speed all of the time. The cop replied, “I never ticket for just driving fast, because I do it myself.”

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Ron_C about 25 years ago I was driving my normal 40-mile commute to work on a four-lane divided highway through a rural area. The police that day had set up a one-car “rolling roadblock” to enforce the speed limit on that road. He drove at exactly the speed limit, where we were more used to driving about 10–15 mph more than that. Traffic backed up behind him, of course.

Since I was right behind him, and people were tailgating me pretty badly (scary), I made a decision. I passed the cop, going +5 mph over the speed limit.

As I pulled even with him he looked over at me with an angry scowl. He pointed at his dashboard speedometer with a jabbing motion. Of course I understood that he meant I had better slow down.

So I did. I passed him and drove -5 mph under the speed limit. Since the traffic behind us had been so bottled up at exactly the speed limit, everyone passed both of us, and he never had a chance to pull alongside me to catch up to the pack—no one let him.

I didn’t even mind driving the speed limit to work that day, once the pack cleared out and everyone passed me… except the cop. At least he didn’t tailgate.

@Rufus_T_Firefly I agree that cops seem to speed with no apparent reason. I don’t attribute that to entirely selfish motives (I don’t sign on to the ‘free doughnuts’ stereotype), but on my residential road the curve I live on is clearly posted at 25 mph. Most people go through at about 40 mph, and the police seldom go through under 50, it seems. And I can’t imagine why. (When they do it with lights and/or sirens, then of course I understand and accept… but every day?)

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – Yeah, I don’t usually subscribe to the ‘donut-loving cop stereotype’ but, as I mentioned, I’ve seen it happen here. One morning, I was on my way to Quik Trip to get my morning cup of coffee when I was passed by a cop who was easily driving twice the posted speed limit. When I finally arrived at Quik Trip, he was already there enjoying a nice hot cup of joe and chatting with colleagues. Sometimes the stereotypes are self-evident.

Fred931's avatar

Why are the people who are supposed to prevent these annoying, and sometimes dangerous, things from happening the ones doing just that?

JLeslie's avatar

Because there are cops who become cops because they care about the law and want to help people. Then there is a percentage of cops who like carrying a gun, having power, and feel above the law.

snowberry's avatar

So @john65pennington I know there are instances when it’s appropriate to floor the gas pedal just to get out of the way of some nut, but I’m talking about what do I do to handle every day situations like I describe above, where folks routinely travel 10+ miles above the speed limit? When I’m on the freeway (or on the expressway), it’s not like I can pull over and let them pass.

So here is my dilemma: Should I travel above the speed limit just enough to lessen the danger to myself, or do I allow them to pass me left and right at even a higher rate of speed? Which lane should I travel in? If I’m in the far right lane going the speed limit, I get tailgated by new arrivals, and I have to constantly deal with traffic entering and exiting the system. If I travel in the middle lane at the speed limit, I’m consistently passed on both the left and right side by cars going much faster than I am. It’s not exactly practical to avoid the freeway or expressway at all times. Why can I do to protect myself and avoid accidents? Thanks

john65pennington's avatar

Wife and i, in my personal car, face these situations ourselves on the interstate. the best and safest solution is to stay in the far right lane and go the posted speed limit. i handle tailgaters in this fashion and it works: when i feel a vehicle is too close to my vehicle, i either tap my brake pedal or turn on my emergency flashers. this sends a signal to the driver behind me to back off. you will see the front end of the following vehicle dip down as they hit their brakes. speeders: as long as you abide by the posted speed limit and someone collides with your vehicle, you are not at-fault. the name of the game on the interstate is personal safety. the other drivers may have road rage and openly violate the traffic laws. its up to you and i to keep a cool head and drive defensively.

snowberry's avatar

Thanks so very much John. I have some new ideas when I’m out driving now.

JLeslie's avatar

@john65pennington Tap your brakes? That seems like a bad idea to me. Brakes are a no-no on the highway, causes a ripple affect or “traffic wave.” At worst if he has looked away in that moment her might hit you, or the person behind the talgaiter might cause an accident when he has to brake suddenly as well. If you are worried about personal safety why do you care if he is at fault when he crashes into you? It makes no sense. I like the flashers idea better.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie tapping your breaks is the only safe way to get a tailgater off your back. Try driving a small car in a line of traffic with a Mack truck so close that all you can see is the bumper in the rear view mirror. I try to leave maneuvering room between myself and the guy in front but in places like the Beltway around Washington D.C. or on 294 around Chicago, it is just an invitation for someone to pull in between you and the other guy.

By they way, I was criticized for saying that the majority of people hogging the fast lane were woman so I counted them.

I drove from Downers Grove, Illinois to St. Marys Pennsylvania on Friday. I counted 15 cars going slow in the fast lane. 7 were women drivers, 3 were old guys (at least over 60, one was a younger guy that may have been drunk, and 4 were younger guys.

Also, the state police were exceptionally busy in Ohio.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I grew up driving the beltway around DC, and true, too much room in front and someone will be cutting in front of you, but I don’t remember feeling like their was excessive tailgating. In fact DC is where I learned to use my beams instead of tailgating. I495 is a fast road though, I agree with that, especially around the Virgina side. Possibly your perception of enough space between cars is different than mine?

I wasn’t one of the people who criticized you about the woman, I agreed they are most likely distracted, and that men were more likely to be aggressive drivers. :)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@JLeslie “tapping” the brakes to turn on the brake light doesn’t have to slow the car at all (other than the natural slowing that will occur from taking your foot off the accelerator). I’m not sure if I can tap the brakes lightly enough to not disengage my cruise control; I’ll have to test that. Sometimes turning on the parking lights fools the guy behind you into thinking that he has seen your brake lights, and that works, too. Usually not more than once, though.

But the other thing that I do with tailgaters is… I slow down. If I’m driving 45–50 mph in a 40 mph zone, which is pretty typical, and a tailgater gets on my ass, then I’ll drop down to the speed limit or lower. That way he has an easier chance to pass me if he wants to do that, and if we collide, at least we’re both going slower.

At freeway speeds, I change lanes when I can or slow down ‘a bit’ and… sometimes you just have to live with it.

JLeslie's avatar

Tapping your brakes, or even fooling them with parking lights might not slow your car, but the car behind you doesn’t necessarily know why you are tapping, and can cause him to brake, and then everyone is braking it impacts the traffic behind you. Really I find the person tailgating at fault, but the brake tap makes it worse in my opinion.

I agree with slowing down, by letting up on the gas a bit, to allow them to pass, assuming you mean a road that is one lane each way.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie my daughter lives in Columbia Md. and I drive around DC a bit. I think drivers are getting dumber and more agressive. Of course I drove in Manhattan, once, next time I’ll park in N.J. and take the ferry across.

The women in the fast lane, weren’t distracted, they were stubborn. Flashing your lights at them only gets you the finger.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C Oh yeah, I was just given the finger by someone the other day. I was waiting behnd a car, we were both turning left, and she did not go when she could have (and I do not mean she would have had to dart across, I mean, plenty of space for her to get across). I kind of raised my hands with open palms and a shrug, a WTF type of thing, and I guess she saw in her rear view. I didn’t honk my horn, or swear at her or anything. I was shocked she looked at me with such an angry face and gave me the finger, actually double finger with both hands. If I had missed an opportunity to cross and held up traffic I would mouth sorry to the traffic behind me and give a wave, goodness knows anyone can make a mistake on the road. But here’s the thing, totally racist for me to say, she was a black woman, and around town people criticize their driving more than anyone.

My husband said to me a while back, “I never was prejudice until I moved here.” It’s true, my husband was the most non-discriminate person I had ever met in my entire life, he had no prejudgements at all about anyone, one of the things I found very attractive about him. He still is not a racist, but he has developed some bad generaliztaions I would say. Black women also have the reputation here of always having a blue tooth on their ear while driving and otherwise, for being impatient, obnoxious, and angry. Of course it is not true that the majority of black women fit this stereotype, not even close, but it might be true that if someone is treating you like that it is more likely to be a black woman.

HungryGuy's avatar

I don’t tap my brakes. At freeway speeds, I believe that can be dangerous. But John P is a cop, so he should know a thing or three about safety. But what I do is very gradually slow down until the wanker passes me. Though, I usually take the bus around town. And when I travel long distances, I usually take the train rather than drive.

snowberry's avatar

Well, I tried what John P said today on a tailgater. I was in the right lane, and needed to go slow because I was going to turn right farther up the road. A lady came up behind me and sat on my bumper. I did not tap my brakes, but I put on my yellow blinkers for a few seconds. Then I began to slow just a bit and the lady moved around me.

Whatever works on the jerks!

Buttonstc's avatar

I’m really surprised at those who don’t think that tapping brake lights gets the point across adequately.

That’s what I have always done all through the years. I do it in groups of three until the point is made. They usually get the point as they realize it isn’t random on my part.

And if they refuse to pass me, I just gradually keep going more slowly until they do pass me.

If you do the brake tap correctly, you’re not really slowing the car down much, just tap very lightly.

I was under the impression that this and a brief high beam flash for oncoming cars to dim theirs were techniques which were S. O. P.

I’ve done this all my life and I learned to drive in a Driver’s Ed course in HS so I’m assuming that’s where I learned it.

I just find it surprising that so many are unaware of these techniques. Strange…

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc I was not unaware of the brake taping, just think it is not a good idea. I have to say I am surprised the guy tailgating backs off, since he seems willing to drive recklessly to begin with. Although, I back off of people who hit/tap their brakes because I think they aren’t good drivers, and keep their foot above the brake constantly.

Buttonstc's avatar

Perhaps we are referring to two different scenarios here. I’m thinking of highway driving primarily and I certainly don’t keep my foot constantly over the brake pedal as that’s extremely tiring (as well as unnecessary).

I just do this when some idiot starts riding my bumper when I’m in the right lane.

If I’m just driving around town and an idiot is on my tail, I just pull over to the side and let him pass.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc I am talking about the highway also.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@JLeslie – Newsflash: If you’re constantly having to back off from tailgating when someone taps their brakes in front of you, they’re not the bad driver… you are!

snowberry's avatar


I think @Rufus_T_Firefly is right. If the people in front of you tap their brakes very often, it’s probably YOU they’re concerned about. I never have that happen to me. Instead, I’m the one tapping my brakes (and now I’m turning on my emergency blinkers) to get them to back off!

JLeslie's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly I am not constantly having to do it, I am not a tailgater, I think it is awful when people do that. I am only saying that if someone is on their breaks, even if I am 3 car lengths behind them, I think they are not good drivers, I probably will change lanes.

JLeslie's avatar

I just did a search and this link agrees with some of what I am saying, you might be interested

snowberry's avatar

I wish people thought I was a bad driver! I might live longer.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry My point was the tailgater probably won’t move over with a brake tap, because he is an asshole anyway. I move because I care about living also. :).

snowberry's avatar

Maybe I’ll get a vanity liscence plate that says BAD DRIVR. Hey, maybe I’m onto something!

JLeslie's avatar

LOL. Maybe get a plate that says BACK OFF.

snowberry's avatar

Naw, that won’t scare ‘em. You have to make them think you’re poisonous to be around so they won’t follow so close.

Rufus_T_Firefly's avatar

@JLeslie – My apologies for misunderstanding. I do hate being behind someone who rides their brakes. I’ve always said that traffic is no place for the timid.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t think it is just black women. I was riding a bike in a small New Jersey town. I stopped for a traffic light and a car passed through just as the light turned red. The old lady in the car next to me, rolled down her window and gave the driver the finger. She also shouted something that I chose not to hear. I think that women are getting just as mean and as short tempered as men.

Fred931's avatar

@snowberry @JLeslie I remember reading a magazine article about print-outs designed to tell other drivers what’s wrong with their car, their driving, or their faces. I just don’t remember where the website is.

snowberry's avatar

I’d like an LED sign where I can change the message. Now that would be fun, but it might also make ‘em run into me because I’d distract ‘em.

JLeslie's avatar

@Rufus_T_Firefly Apology accepted :).

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry You may have told us already, so I apologize if I failed to see it. What speed are you actually driving on the highway that this is a constant problem for you? Do you live in a place that you cannot easily use local roads?

snowberry's avatar

ROFL @Fred931!

Up until the other day, I’ve been driving about 4–5 MPH above the posted limit, and they fly past me like I’m standing still and forget about construction zones!

The last few days I’ve been trying out @john65pennington‘s suggestion of using my emergency blinkers to get them to back off my bumper, and so far it works tolerably well. Before that I was trying to drive about 5 MPH above the posted speed limit which at least lessened my chance of being creamed (and as I said before, they still fly past). My schedule has changed so at the moment, I can mostly avoid the freeway.

But why would you ask me to avoid freeways and highways? It takes long enough to get around as it is. I hope it’s not so the rest of you can go faster than ever and not have to worry about the dummies who insist on following the laws!

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry Not sure what city you are in, but in my opinion if you are driving the speed limit, or even a little over, and staying right, I think it awful that people on the roads are giving you a hard time or on your tail. Even when I was younger and drove faster, I knew when I got over to the right, maybe nearing an exit, the traffic would be slower.

I asked if you could avoid the highways, because it feels to me from your words that the highway makes you nervous, so I thought better maybe you just avoid it. I was assuming you were actually driving below the speed limit, but I wanted to ask in case my assumption was incorrect, and of course like most assumptions it was incorrect. :)

snowberry's avatar

A few months ago I was (once again) driving 55 MPH on the far right lane. I’d just entered the highway (not even a freeway already!). A man in a huge truck came up and SAT on my bumper. All I could see was the grille of his truck. Since there were cars on my left, I couldn’t move out of the way, so I sped up a little. And a little more. And a little more. Eventually I was going 70, and he was still on my bumper! Finally he moved out of my lane and passed me as if I was parked. So now you have it.

Fred931's avatar

@snowberry nah, this is sitting on your bumper. Yet, the same weird sh!t happens when you screw up.

Ron_C's avatar

I think that American drivers are particularly courteous. I have driven all over the world. I drove a Fiat and a 9 passenger Ford van in Naples, Italy. The van was no trouble because might makes right. It looks really big to a 600 CC Fiat.

Driving or even walking in Italy can be extremely dangerous if you are driving a Fiat or walking past where they congregate, like fountains, for instance. I was almost hit while I was on the sidewalk when a Fiat driver found that you could only fit 5 Fiats abreast in a two lane traffic circle.

I was also one of the few people that ran a traffic light on the Guantanamo Navy base. I was so surprised to see it, I didn’t react until I drove through. The Shore Patrol was not amused.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C You use Naples as your example in Europe LOL?! We call that the third world of driving in Europe in my family. I have never been there, but every relative I have that has been there says it, including my BIL who is from Treveso outside of Venice, he compares it to living in Dom Rep.

I find each state in America to be different, part of the reason I was wondering where @snowberry lives.

When I lived in Raleigh, NC they were some of the most curteous drivers I had ever been around, always letting you in, but the road system was not very good in my opinion.

In Memphis the drivers suck for the most part. They are loath to use a signal, don’t let people in, and when I ask why people don’t signal they say, “because if they see I want to get over they will speed up and block me.” What kind of horrible thinking is that? I see people not stay in their lane more than do stay in their lane when turning.

Living outside of DC growing up (so that is 25 years ago) people let you in, they stuck to their lanes when turning, they went immediately on a green arrow, they took turns when feeding onto a road that was congested. I felt it to be rather orderly, although the driving was fast, especially on the highways/Interstates.

Michigan was great for following the rules of passing on the left and staying over to the right when not passing, although people seemed to drive very fast on the Interstates in MI also. Of course the MI left is an unusual thing, but I think it is more of a problem for people from MI to drive in other states than the reverse. Although, last time I was there I could not remember if I could complete my turn on the red at one place. I had been away so long I could not remember the rule.

Florida has a lot of tourists so you see crazy stuff on the road, like people suddenly cutting across two lanes because their turn came up, or they are driving very slowly because they don’t know when to turn. Many people from the islands who never drive above 50 have a hard time driving in the congested fast moving interstates and turnpikes, and NYers who rarely drive except while out of state sometimes are overwhlemed also. One of my bosses from NYC would drive 45 on the Interstate and it was frightening to me.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie did you know that there are no stop signs in China. I talked to one of our interpreters that just passed her commercial drivers test. I asked about them, even drew on and she said “I never heard of such a thing”. In intersections not controlled by stop signs is is every man for himself. The bigger the vehicle, the more right of way. That is also the first time that I saw an accident where a bus hit a large truck. I believe it was a size judgement problem.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I did not know that there are no stop signs at all. About 6 months ago I saw a report about driving in China and it was completely disorganized, and intersections were very scary. They are not prepared for all of the cars on the road, and bycicles are out there fighting for space also.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie that is a pretty good decision. I rode a bike there but was only a passenger in the car. I didn’t want to take a chance getting mixed up with traffic police because your are almost guaranteed to have a traffic accident.

One of my daughters got fined in Japan and she was parked. A guy knocked the door off her car. She was found to be 50% responsible for the accident because it wouldn’t have happened if she wasn’t in the country.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C I kind of LOL that she was fined because it would not have happened if she wasn’t in the country. I mean come on. When I was in Tokyo my husband and I were taken at how quiet the city was even with a ton of traffic; roads literally on top of roads in some places.

Smashley's avatar

Geeze! The ONE most common thing? There are at least a dozen highly annoying and somewhat dangerous things I see people do on a regular basis.

Drinking and driving is still incredibly common. Oy. Do I really need to go into how much of a bad idea this is?

Drivers who are waiting for an opening to turn in traffic and become transfixed on the cars, ignoring pedestrians and bikers crossing in front of them.

Anyone stupid enough to pass a slow or stopped vehicle by drifting over into the shoulder. It’s for emergency stopping, and it’s often populated by children waiting for the bus, parked cars, and any number of things you couldn’t see because the car in front of you was blocking the view.

Aggressive drivers. Just chill out. Yeah, I’m only going the speed limit in the left lane (it is called a “limit” for a reason), but I’m just passing some really slow cars. I’ll get over when I have the chance. Until then, just chill. Life is more enjoyable if you don’t let the normal functioning of other human beings be a source on anger and frustration for you.

People who don’t use their lights when it rains or visibility is compromised. (Yeah, I know you can see, but we can’t see YOU)

Phones. I simply can’t believe that a rational human being will put their lives and the lives of others at risk to answer a phone call or text message. No exceptions. It just needs to end.

People who have no business driving and yet do. You know who you are. Although I’m pretty libertarian, it amazes me that we give licenses to children and accept those of countries who’s standards we have no control over. Make the licensing process easier, but the testing harder.

Ugh. There’s more, I’m sure, but I can’t stomach discussing it anymore. I need to go for a bike ride.

Ron_C's avatar

@JLeslie I wasn’t there but that was the story from her and her husband. The judge made the ruling. They were both in the Navy, that may have been part of the problem but the judge said that they were partly responsible because they were in the country. Maybe civilians get treated differently.

Coloma's avatar

Oh yeah..the no lights in driving rain thing…grrrr!

Recently it was pouring and the roadspray and visability was very poor, I was behind a red truck on the freeway with good space going on. All of a sudden the red truck changes lanes and a little white car was in front of him, I couldn’t even see it in the rain and mist!

Fortunetly I DID see it, but a scary moment!

Also, in my area the main 2 lane highway out to the freeway has a speed limit between 50—55, most people go at least 60–65 and pass a lot on the double yellow.

Just yesterday some idiot pulled out and passed 3 cars in a row and barely made it back in his lane before an oncoming car. I dropped waaaay back and held my breath…scary, scary!

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma Yeah, I had to teach my husband that law, about the lights when it rains, when we were dating. His first response was, “I can see fine.” Ugh. I have no idea if he went to drivers school or not come to think of it.

philosopher's avatar

People that move in and out of lanes and cut everyone off on a major street.
Buses that take up two lanes. People that signal seconds before changing lanes.
This is how it is here on all major streets.
The cops never ticket them. We have cameras on some streets but they do not comprehend that sometimes you must go through a yellow light. If not you would be hit.


Going straight through red lights and stop signs. Also, a lot of drivers don’t seem to understand that at a 4-way stop, the driver who stops first has the right of way to proceed. Almost everyday, I see drivers neglecting this road law, and barrel through an intersection even though I stopped first. People who drive fast in parking lots, like at a mall parking lot, are also very dangerous. And of course drivers who end up on the wrong side of a two-way road, or going down a one-way street. Yikes.

Joybird's avatar

Distractions behind the wheel (music, people, cell phones, GPS etc) and auto pilot driving instead of being one in the moment behind the wheel and fully aware of what is occuring around you (getting in and getting there without even remember one iota about how you got there and what occured while getting there.

peridot's avatar

People who drive huge oversized vehicles, then act like they’re the only ones on the road. Not to be sexist (for the record, I’m female), but this seems to more often be the case with female drivers. I say this because I’ve known of and overheard a few conversations where some guy knows his wife or daughter is a craptastic driver, so he buys her an Explorer or similar tank so when she hits something, her precious self will be protected—everyone else be damned. Why that money couldn’t go toward, oh I don’t know, driving lessons is a mystery…

Ron_C's avatar

@peridot I used that theory when my daughters got their licenses. It worked. I bought a big old diesel Grand Prix. Each one wrecked it and came out without a scratch The other drivers were also uninjured although the mailman bitched for a year that “she hit me so hard my hat flew into the back of the truck.” By the way the tail door on the small standard mail truck costs $1500.

peridot's avatar

@Ron_C On the one hand, I totally get wanting to protect your loved ones. OTOH, um… yikes. Both of them wrecked? That conjures up a very recent close call I experienced when this little Jetta-driving girl was weaving in and out of traffic and cutting people off by inches. If someone’s got that mentality, they need to not be operating heavy machinery. “I am the center of the universe” does not apply when you could potentially kill someone. Your daughters (and their counterparts) got lucky. Did you see those horrific pix several years back of that girl who smashed her daddy’s Porsche as well as herself?

If I’d wrecked my car—hell, gotten into even a fender-bender—before I was around age 25, I would’ve been toast. And probably sued into oblivion, as well. Something to think about.

Ron_C's avatar

@peridot you have possibly missed the point a little. There were a couple reasons for the big old Grand Prix diesel. Protection, no temptation to speed, handles like a livingroom couch so there is no issue about weaving in and out of traffic like a Porsche.

peridot's avatar

@Ron_C “handles like a livingroom couch”... LOL! I love that analogy!

Good point about a diesel tank vs. a zippy little car. However, I’m gonna stand behind my statement. There are plenty of drivers out there who survived their learning curves without smacking into anything. I don’t see why my life/well-being/blood pressure should be potentially forfeit because Suzy Newdriver can’t handle her land yacht.

Ron_C's avatar

@peridot yeah I know. My wife kept saying “you’re not buying those girls anymore cars?”

Let me think, between them they wrecked my wife’s Mazda, put a Ford Escort in a ditch, Ripped the entire side of my rebuilt VW, hit a mail truck, and a Lincoln Continental.
Then my oldest went to Japan, got the door knocked off her boyfriend’s car. He was much more worried about her than the car so she married him.

She then moved to Hawaii where she had a regular account at a body shop. Hell, its good for the economy!

WestRiverrat's avatar

The guy in the car behind me last night. We were the only 2 cars on the road and he had to run on my bumper with his high beams on. The road was a 4 lane divided highway, so he had plenty of room to go around me if he wanted to. Almost ran into me when I slowed for the exit and blared his horn at me.

snowberry's avatar

@WestRiverrat Yes. He has 9,000,000 identical twins, and they all live and drive where I do.

I have had a perfect driving record for many years, and I want to keep it that way. I have NO patience for the idiots who think I need to speed so they can get to that stoplight up ahead faster than I am. That’s when I put the emergency flashers on (per @john65pennington). I could not count the times a car has roared around me, and I putz up going the speed limit, and we both sit there for a while waiting for the light to turn green. If I pulled over for every jerk who tailgated me when I was driving the speed limit, I would never get anywhere, because honestly, it’s just about all of them, including the police.

skateangel's avatar

Oh God, just yesterday I was driving down a busy lane and some idiot right next to me cut in front of me to turn into a parking lot. I was this close to crashing into him…I mean I can’t imagine having to be somewhere so bad that you’d risk your life and other people’s. Same goes for tailgators. If you’re DEAD you won’t get there anyway lol.

Fred931's avatar

I’m parking in the high school lot now (when the damn car ain’t in the shop), so the following is likely self-explanatory. Regardless of such educational material as “Red Asphalt 3” being played in our driver’s-ed classes, most students generally assume that collisions between themselves and anything are simply not possible.

Such is the case when it is time for them to enter the lot in the morning; yielding to pedestrians is generally dependent on if the students are halfway across a row of the parking lot, and if they aren’t, the car will likely proceed to miss students within inches. The morality of the pedestrians is similar because, despite having exited their own vehicles, the idea of “Cheat_God_Mode equals 1” lingers for several minutes, as they generally cross as they please despite any approaching traffic. Should there be a close call or even a bump, hardly any emotion is exchanged, let alone it is usually a laugh or a taunt.

Such is also the case when it is the afternoon and it is time for these students to back out of their spaces. The students usually have a hard time adapting to the concept that because they are reversing that they must now focus their attention to the rears of their vehicles, rather than the fronts. This generally results in about up to six cars in six adjacent spaces, 3 in a row on both sides of a lane in the parking lot, reversing simultaneously to occupy the same approximate amount of space. I have attempted to communicate to such… students… the flaws of this technique with the given audible tool of my vehicle as well as certain hand gestures, but this has never led to progress.

…But seriously, it’s a fucking miracle nobody has died, DIED in that parking lot. It’s also so weird how classmates I know and am friends with, taking AP or IB curriculum, can be such moronic drivers at the same time.

Fathdris's avatar

People that think just because it is day, means they can drive without headlights.

I live in the country, and often the presence or absence of your headlights means the difference between being visible or not. If I am going to make the decision to overtake the truck in front of me, I need to know that you are there.

philosopher's avatar

Cutting in on people in a very agressive and unsafe matter. This has to be a lack of common sense and poor judgement.
You don’t pass someone unless there is room. People should leave room between cars but, often do not.

Fathdris's avatar

@philosopher I was taught to leave at least a car length, preferably two, between the vehicle in front of you if you can. but I do agree that I don’t see that too often. Most of the time I see people tailgating instead.

Heck… I had a truck… a big semi-trailer… tailgating me in july… and I was right on the speed limit.

I hate to imagine what would have happened if I had to break suddenly.

Kraigmo's avatar

Tailgaiting, Failing to Signal, and SlowDriving AKA Phone Addiction… are the 3 worst traits of bad drivers.
People who make a turn without signalling…. are a—holes. No exceptions.

Answer this question




to answer.

Mobile | Desktop

Send Feedback