Tailgating as shortsightedness

Pick any major American city these days, as well as its suburbs, and you’ll see (or feel) tailgating as a prevalent part of the driving experience.

Road rage, specifically tailgating, is mostly due to the shortsightedness of individuals given the free reign to operate a heavy mass of machinery at whatever speed they choose. Give everyone this right, and of course you’ll have accidents, people shooting each other at high speeds, and of course – tailgating.

In simple physical terms, tailgating is a loser’s game. There’s a reason insurance companies have automatic fault for drivers who hit another driver from behind.

Much like the SUV paradox, tailgating and road rage cause an interesting dilemma. There’s no reward for following speed limit signs and for driving in a safe manner, which shows that you’re thinking of yourself and your safety beyond your hood ornament.

But beyond the lack of reward, you also find yourself punished by other drivers in the form of danger (tailgating, road rage, being passed from the right side). This is a perfect symbol of shortsightedness. You want to do the “right thing”? Make money and make a home “the right way?” Good luck with all the other slow-pokes – we’ll have passed you and will be way up ahead in the fast lane!

The reason safe drivers can’t just smirk about the accident awaiting these morons down the road, is that they might be in that accident. Individualist societies think in terms of the individual as a pod: “I’ll speed, and I’ll deal with the consequences if I get caught by a cop. Accident? I’m in an Acura with high performance tires – not gonna happen.”

The increasingly rare safe drivers on the road are thinking in terms of what’s best for travel all around – stay far enough behind the next car that if he slams on his brakes, I won’t hit him. Look in all mirrors every few minutes. Be cognizant of where I’m going. Only do the courteous thing and stop to let someone into the road if I’m not holding up traffic behind me unnecessarily. Careful of stopping for strangers/drifters, or just avoid doing this at all. Etc.

We can see the paraellels between this and how people act in their everyday lives. Who’s careful with what they do? Who is proud of the work they put in for the day? Who’s more proud of the work they put in for the meaningful things – family, religion, culture – than about whether they were able to go to Best Buy and get a new TV for the living room? These people are increasingly rare.

Tailgating is a method used by people seeking instant gratification. Whether by misplaced frustration, or simply out of stupidity, tailgating is a symbol of treating a privilege as a right, then abusing that self-appointed “right” until it’s meaningless. Sound familiar?


  1. crow says:

    Familiar? Oh yes. Nice one, Frank.
    My island is full of deer. The speed limit is 6O kph.
    Average speed of cars: 80 kph.
    It is amazing there are still as many deer as there are.
    The eagles and ravens grow fat and plentiful on the roadkill.
    My average speed: 55 kph.

  2. crow says:

    This is off topic, for which I apologize, but wholly relevant to the larger issue…

    I discovered, today, on an online forum, that the leftist mindset actually doesn’t understand a basic human concept:
    I posted a comment about my own view that women should not be allowed to vote, along with certain other kinds of people, on account of the emotional and comfort-oriented nature of women. It was my view, in the same way as other people have their views.
    What happened was breathtaking…

    The feminist crew spent the day assigning all kinds of possible reasons I might have for saying what I had said, liberally spiced with abuse and aggression.
    I was called all kinds of things, and taken for all kinds of things, without once being seen as having offered my view because it was my view.

    It turns out that if one does not agree with a leftist, it is because one is:
    A “troll”, and/or an attention-seeker, a nazi, a bigot, a moron, a pedophile, a misogynist, a pervert, a rapist, a fake, a troublemaker, but never, ever, simply because what I said was my own opinion.
    These people simply could not imagine anyone holding such a viewpoint, and so there had to be some hidden agenda to discover.

    Sorry for the aside, but this was so astonishing, I imagined it might be an interesting observation for the readers of this site.

    1. Dan says:

      do give a link.

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