This post is dedicated to the kindly gentleman driving behind me last night in a white chevy pickup truck down I-40 Westbound. It is abundantly evident that the best part of you dribbled forgotten down the curve of your mother’s thigh until it was smeared away the next morning.
Traffic had backed up as many as 6 miles on I-40 at an average speed of no more than a two miles per hour. The white chevy pickup was behind me in the far left lane…directly in front of me was a chain-smoking cop with the admirable patience not to flip on his bluelights and take to the shoulder.
Now it just so happens that when I’m in a traffic jam, I don’t prefer to hump the arse of the car preceding me, or follow it like some terrified little girl clinging to her mother’s skirts. I would venture to say this is doubly true when the vehicle in question is government issue.
The genius behind me, however, had the brilliant notion of honking at me every time I allowed more than half a car length between myself and my former brother-in-blue. When I checked my rearview mirror, the chevy driver further punctuated his impatience with a series of “get on with it” gestures, urging me to inch forward until I was again bumper to bumper with the cruiser. Before long, he was making the sign for “crazy” and giving me the finger. I must compliment him not only on his common sense, but brilliant negotiating skills. Insulting people is clearly the best method for bringing someone around to your point of view.
Let me provide you with a dollar’s worth of free advice, because that’s just the kind of guy I am: When your average speed is two miles per hour, it makes no difference whatsoever whether you follow the car in front of you immediately every inch, applying your breaks every two-point-five seconds, or stopping completely for fifteen minutes while a half mile opens before you, and then closing the half-mile in the next few seconds.
To further illustrate my point, let me educate you, Chevy driver. Had you slammed into me at full speed and therefore forced me to plow into the officer’s vehicle, I could be held liable for not following at a safer distance. If you’re in bumper to bumper traffic, and a car behind you pushes you into the car ahead, it’s your fault for not leaving a bigger gap. Write that down, folks.
Whenever I did close the gap, I gave my friend pickup driver a thumb’s up and a huge grin. Terrific! We moved ahead four whole inches! Thank GOD I hurried to close the gap, or who knows what tragedy might have befallen us? We might have had to wait the exact same amount of time!
It was two hours of virtually standstill traffic until we discovered the source of the congestion: An 18-car pileup AND an additional 15-car pileup involving a tractor-trailer — twenty-eight total vehicles involved. Emergency personnel had closed off three lanes and routed the fourth lane off the highway and back on for one exit.
The accident was reported on the radio this morning. The cause? Drivers following each other too closely.
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