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Miss my arse

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Awesome result.

Awesome result.

You know that idiot who leaves 30 metres between him and the car he's following in traffic? The dude you get right up behind and tailgate because he's only doing 57km/h in a friggin' 60km/h zone?!

You know the guy, the one who you have to finally overtake, veer in front of and then he's right behind you at the next set of lights, calmly nodding his head to Mr Mister or Hank Williams or whatever these tortoise-men call music!

Lemme try explain his mindset to you.

Maybe, when he was a little younger and sillier, this bloke did stupid things in cars and thinks back to certain nights in the wet or when he was racing through residential streets and realises luck is not endless but stupidity is.

Maybe, when he got a little older and wiser, part of his job as a newspaper reporter was to go to motor vehicle accidents and he saw all sorts of dead people.

Some used to look just like him or his girlfriend or his parents but had been reduced to meat and blood and metal and glass gleaming under emergency arc lamps.

Maybe, as he got even older, he realised those road safety billboards warning of being "dead on time" were perhaps the truest words ever written by an advertising copywriter.

Maybe, he's even got his kid in the back seat and, as he watches you in the rear-view, three metres from his bumper, he feels the obscenity of your willingness to risk his child's safety like a fish flapping in his throat. 

There's a point in some motorists' lives where they understand the absolute worst place on earth to vent aggression and frustration, aside from Twitter and office Christmas parties, is while driving a car.

Some people never have this epiphany, others have it forced upon them when they're buried up the arse of a truck, their legs crushed under the steering column, their wife or best mate dead in the seat next to them.

And for what?

We obey the draconian rule of physics in pretty much every aspect of life; we avoid leaping from great heights, jamming knives into live toasters and running grandma through puddles on linoleum.

We do this because we understand the consequences of these actions, yet millions of drivers ignore the indisputable physics of their reaction time in traffic.

Your near-best is two seconds but probably closer to three or four seconds in complex situations involving multiple vehicles and high speeds. 

The majority of drivers, however, habitually leave a gap between themselves and a leading car of as little as 0.5 seconds.

Rear-end collisions are the most common form of automobile accident in this country and the driver of the car which hits from behind is generally always ruled to be at fault and thus pays for several car repairs. If they live.

You do the maths.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

Please don't take it personally if I do not reply to your email as they come in thick and fast depending on the topic. Please know, I appreciate you taking the time to write and comment and would offer mummy hugs to all.

169 comments

  • Have to say I agree with this rant. People seem to be all in a hurry these days. Perhaps they are stressed, or simply poor time managers. I'm always amused when people do silly things on the road, and then see them sitting at the same set of traffic lights...yeah clap clap well done, you saved no time at all. Driving smoothly, anticipating traffic movement is so much nicer than getting all worked up and in a rush. I drive with economy in mind, drive smoothly, anticipate traffic flow and adjust my speed accordingly. Not only does it drastically improve fuel economy, but saves on wear and tear.

    Commenter
    John
    Location
    Melbourne
    Date and time
    October 20, 2013, 9:56PM
    • Agree it's really not that difficult. 2 seconds in good conditions minimum, 4 seconds if its' wet.

      Without question, having travelled across this country numerous times it's getting worse but Queenslanders are by far the worst. Does tailgating even get mentioned in the Learner driver manuals and training here?

      Commenter
      PO
      Location
      Brisbane
      Date and time
      October 20, 2013, 11:16PM
    • I spend time chasing cars to keep up with traffic. I find that it is best to go with the flow of things in virtually all aspects of life, but definitely know where my exits are when things don't jive with my values.

      Commenter
      all heart
      Date and time
      October 20, 2013, 11:28PM
    • @all heart: if you knowingly break the law just to "go with the flow", then you have no values to start with.

      Commenter
      The Other Guy
      Location
      Geelong
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 7:38AM
    • @The Other Guy--I can be very obtuse and/or cryptic in my writing. Just know that I am not breaking the law, and my values are honorable.

      Commenter
      all heart
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 8:54AM
    • PO - You say Queenslanders are the worst. You haven't been to Adelaide then! Scary stuff. I'd rather drive in Melbourne/Sydney peak than drive in Adelaide.

      Commenter
      Rusty
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 9:21AM
    • isn't the minimum safe distance a 3 second gap

      Commenter
      perplexed
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 10:01AM
    • Values eh? Well, that might give us an explanation for the anti-social, selfish, narcissistic, agressive behaviour of tail-gaters and speeders. There is a little known theory of levels of existence (Prof Clare W Graves ECLET) that suggests that many of us are (unfortunately) stuck predominantly at fairly low levels of existence where compulsive self expression without regard and at the expense of others is the norm. Basically, they can't help it...have compassion, sympathy, and avoid them in all areas of your life especially when they are behind the wheel!

      Commenter
      Fat Cat
      Location
      Just tootling along...
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 10:29AM
  • If he/she is not in the right hand lane I do not care... People on a freeway travelling 10 or more kms under the post speed limit kind shit me.

    Commenter
    Bren72
    Date and time
    October 20, 2013, 9:59PM
    • You know what, I am never in the right hand lane - I sit on the speed limit and without fail, almost every time I drive I have some BEEP riding on my bumper! I'd understand the frustration if I was in the RHL but it just makes me so angry - people are so aggressive on the roads - now more than ever. Why?

      Commenter
      kat
      Date and time
      October 21, 2013, 12:28AM

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