Monday, April 9, 2012

A Pox on Idiot Drivers

A Sad Circumstance
Anyone driving a classic car these days has to deal with a lot of highway issues, not the least among them are tailgating drivers. This point was driven home through an accident that involved a fellow Mini owner in Birmingham, Alabama. He was enjoying the fine spring weather when he was stupidly rear ended by an idiot in a pick up truck who may or may not be insured - he had no proof of it, anyway. The mini driver came away with a bent boot lid.

I can certainly sympathize with him. It's an unusual ride in my Mini when I don't have a tailgater or three during the outing. And by tailgater I mean following so closely that my rear view mirror is full of bumper and grille. I appreciate the fact that people may want a little closer look at a classic car, but driving stupidly is certainly no way to do it. Rather than resorting to rude (but effective) hand gestures, I'll gradually slow down to the point that the following driver will tire of the game and pass me. If that doesn't work, I've been known pull off the road. 
A Tasteful and Effective Third Brakelight

What to do? Other than the above you can drive even more defensively by anticipating other driver's moves and expect the unexpected, to use a couple of well-worn cliches.Keep an eye on the other driver's face if possible. You might be able to guess what their next move will be. Are they on a cell phone or - God help us - texting while driving? Regard them with the same caution as you would with an impaired driver.    

As far as our tailgaiting friends are concerned, a third brake light might be handy - especially if your taillights and brake lights aren't separated as is the rule these days. Some younger drivers have never seen a brake/tail combo or a car without a center brake light before. That third light may save your sheetmetal and possibly your life.

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