This could have gone a lot worse

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by brick, Sep 8, 2006.

  1. brick

    brick Answers to "that guy."

    So, yesterday afternoon I was cruising down the 2-lane highway, minding my own business in the right lane. As I'm parked there at 65mph (65 zone) this white minivan from out of state starts passing...almost. I don't know why, but the driver of this car (older gentleman) felt the need to match my speed and completely block the road. Not paying attention, not aware of lane useage laws, trying to be an "enforcer"...I don't know. It was fine for a moment, but then I notice a REALLY large red object coming up fast in my rear view. It was a large pickup doing in the 75-80 range right behind me. Sometimes I tap the brakes in a situation like this to activate the lights and wake up the driver, but he was already close enough that I didn't want to inadvertently drop any speed that he wouldn't be able to deal with. (I like my car and my neck the way they are.) Anyway, I don't know why but he chose to get to within a few inches of my bumper...right lane, remember...rather than the parked minivan, which at least would have made a little sense. I made a conscious effort not to let my blood pressure spike, which has taken a lot of practice. I stayed where I was until he changed lanes to the left. At this point I was getting ready for the guy in the truck to do something royally stupid, like the guy who had passed me on the shoulder that morning to gain a single car length in extremely heavy traffic. So my solution was to cancel cruise and drop down to 55 so that the the guy could pass on the right and get far away from me. The gap opened, he went around, no gestures were exchanged, and I didn't have to get mad at anyone.

    You probably think I'm on pills to be posting this story, but you have to understand how things are around here: this was an accomplishment. 99% of the time, a situation like this results in a small war. Maybe it's the fumes from Northeastern RFG?
  2. TonyPSchaefer

    TonyPSchaefer Well-Known Member

    Before I got Priapus, I drove semi-aggressively. And now I'm much more aware of it in other people. My wife drives a Regal. Slowly. People ride her bumper and it bothers her emotionally, physically, and mentally.

    What I know from doing it and from witnessing it is that above all else, you MUST keep in mind that in 99.5% of the time, it's not personal. You just happen to be the obstacle this time. As soon as the driver gets around you, they will move on and do the same thing to someone else. Yes it's rude. Yes it's dangerous. No it's not you.

    Kudos on keeping calm. I wish more people would show your resolve.
  3. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I most definitely sympathize with this, brick.

    My fantasy solution for aggressive tailgaters, is to put them on the receiving end of this for a week. It could be getting trampled by bulls in Spain, linebackers, felons in a prison.... Just somthing to drive in into their skull this is unacceptable behavior.
  4. RH77

    RH77 Well-Known Member

    I'll admit I used to be a very aggressive driver, (I used to mainly drive an Ambulance for my job, but also a variety of Firefighting vehicles, so I've been tainted with speed and predicting what the other guy will do). I joke with my family and friends that "the craziest driver wins". In this example, you have to do a quick analysis if your speed limit driving is crazier than the P/U driver. Clearly not. It's a game of chess. Plan several moves ahead considering your opponents moves as well.

    Rick's School of Being the Craziest Driver -- Custom Situation: Geezer in a Van

    First thing: Back off and see if the situation will resolve itself. If not and the geezer still paces:
    Rule #1: Drive like you want to, just be prepared for the consequences
    Rule #2: People will make like they're going to ram you, but they won't
    Rule #3: Drivers will do anything at all costs NOT to run into anything, but will drive off the road in some cases.
    Rule #4: Be crazy but don't invoke road rage -- could be deadly or result in a felony for someone (separate thread -- had a knife pulled on my wife and I for driving too slow -- apparently ignoring the finger or smiling only compounds the issue of people looking for a fight).
    Rule #5: Some people are out looking for a fight. Just make like it was your fault and apologize with a wave and an "I'm sorry" (I know it's crazy). Bite the bullet instead of taking one in the chest.
    Rule #6: Regarding Rule #4, you may have been able to use this as an advantage to out-craze the old fogey. Passing, IMHO is done on the LEFT ONLY. It's risky, but I've honked the horn and made like the pacer has flat tire or something. Think of something to get the blue-hair out of the passing lane and/or make a gap if things get hairy.

    I have to do stuff like this daily. It a tough, fast world out there.

    This is all risky stuff, but if done properly, it can save the arse of a hypermiler. I live in a city where the speed limit deserves punishment, so you have to survive somehow.

    Most people will disagree, that's fine.

    Most people are afraid of their cars and don't know how to handle them at limits nor at max FE. Outsmart them. Replace "Smart" with "Crazy" above and see what I mean. Sometimes you have to back off and if that doesn't work, you have to use unconventional means for your own safety.

    Use at your own risk.

    In conclusion, I'm sorry this happened to you. I've had tractor-trailors do the same. I've even been crazy enough to slam on the brakes for cars riding my bumper (back in my road-rage days -- those are over, thank goodness). I'm ashamed of my past, but I'll admit to it and help prevent road rage from happening to others. I've also learned that honestly people will do anything to prevent a collision. They'll speed up and make like they're going to ram you, but they hit the brakes or go into the emergency lane.

    Sometimes preventing road rage is more important than FE.

  5. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger


    Thank you for helping us get into the heads of drivers that do this. :)

    While I'm sure your rules apply in most cases, I fear running across a true nutcase.

    Right or wrong, I imagine many of these people have this compulsion to dominate - "kick some butt". Been tempted to heckle pulled-over speeders: "But, Officer - I HAD to kick butt!!!" :p

    May sound funny, but I honestly think many people actually behave like wild animals. I guess we should try to think like the late Steve Irwin and figure what these beasts are going to do....
  6. laurieaw

    laurieaw Sorceress of the North

    without getting harpooned in the process :(
  7. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    This is why I'm really glad I finally re-implemented the Yuppie
    Button in the prius. This is a fairly simple electrical hack
    that momentarily lights all the bright lights on the rear of
    the car -- brakes + hazards + reverse. What's interesting in
    the case of LED brake lights and conventional bulbs for everything
    else is that the brakes pop on instantly [incl. third-eye] and
    the rest come on maybe a quarter-second later, giving an even
    weirder look to what's happening -- almost like how the cops
    wire the tail-light assemblies in their unmarkeds to get
    attention when they're stopped. I had such a thing in my old
    Trooper as a tool for my own mellow-driving style, i.e. warning
    the yuppie in the beemer flying up behind me that no, maybe I'm
    not accelerating hell-bent just because I pulled onto a road
    a full quarter-mile ahead of him. Thus the name. Wake up, get
    off the phone, pay attention. This time I didn't do the full
    front/back harness split so the front hazards go on too, but
    that's a pretty minor bug and nobody in front of me is going
    to care because they're too far away!
    Anyways, early testing shows that it works *really* well -- had
    some amazingly fast back-offs, although it doesn't necessarily
    work to clue them in that they should *stay* backed off.
    Probably because the brake lights on the Pri are bright and
    have that LED punchiness, and everything else is just gravy.
    But the main thing is it allows a visual interaction to the rear
    that tries to increase safety, *without* actually touching the
    brakes which would cause unsafe velocity deltas.
    Like the injector-cut for no-reboot FASing, maybe this is something
    that serious hypermilers should consider as standard mods.
  8. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    Now that's a cool mod. :cool:

    If it were to be upgraded, put multiple flash attachments in the back so it would look like a tactical nuke flash. :p
  9. XerEagle

    XerEagle Member

    I’ve never understood the mind set of the two drivers that you described. Even when I had my RX-8 and drove about the speed limit, left lane or hit corners hard, I still respected other drivers on the road.

    I commend you for your ability to defuse a situation that could have escalated or possibly caused more hard than good.
  10. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Tim:

    ___You had four advantages in the situation you described and I hope that you were using/considering all 4? Once that guy passed and stuck, I would have backed off to allow a passing gap. You did exactly the right thing imho. I would have used a HS P&G to do it too ;) Second, I would have been ridge riding anyway and the guy coming up at an ungodly speed in the right lane would have noticed. You probably were already. The third is never ever ever ever touch those brakes!!!! You have an emergency button, use it. Brake check someone in today’s day and age and you might end up the receiving end of a bullet! Emergency’s are a reminder to be careful, Brake check is a way of telling someone the same but in a rather harsh manner. Since you didn’t need to touch those, it sounds like no problem at all … The fourth is that you do have the Maintenance lane and if you have to use it, use it! Even a quick swerve into and out of will wake that SOB up behind you. 6 X’s while I owned the Insight and just once in the Accord did this technique make a bad situation go away …

    ___Sounds like you did great.

    ___Good Luck

  11. diamondlarry

    diamondlarry Super MPG Man/god :D

    Ezcellent advice xcel! I think that once I get a better handle on using the techniques you described and not worrying so much about those behind me, I may start to see 60 mpg tanks on a regular basis.:)
  12. philmcneal

    philmcneal Has it been 10 years? Wow

    for my car, i can lighty tap the brakes to activitate the lights, but brakes aren't actually grabbing yet, a bit more pressure and ahh there she stops!

    But remember, if they rear end you, a new car! However the same cannot be promised for your well being. So most of the time, people behind you can't risk rear ending you because it will be their money and sweat that will get you out of that situation alive. Sometimes, music, sunglasses, and ignorance (eye contact) works best, with one's window rolled up of course.

    As for those rainy days, the excuse of less traction should be a good reason enough for slower speeds.
  13. psyshack

    psyshack He who posts articles

    Run up on me or tail gate and try to play the ram game. You will see my tail lights get bright real fast and ABS work.

    Like another poster mentioned,, they will do almost anything to keep from hitting you. Ive seen afew find the shoulder or ditch in a big hurry.
  14. Chuck

    Chuck just the messenger

    I admit to slamming breaks in the past and setting off a couple of road-rage incidents. Always have a few nutcases that just don't want to get it. :(
  15. RH77

    RH77 Well-Known Member

    Honestly, it's a different world out there, and the average person is losing it. The person that pulled a knife on us had no prior records. He was driving back from the hospital (so he claims) and was distraught. When he gave us the finger for taking FE-conscious acceleration he came up to a single lane turn, and stayed stopped at a green light. People were honking. Then he drove 20 in a 45 and we had to pass after we turned on the 4-lane road (I was going to make a left anyways later to get some coffee) we ignored him -- then he tried to run us off the road. The police were called. At the next stop he pulls up to my side of the car with a hunting knife and taps on the glass. I just stared him down like WTF are you going to do? I could've easily turned the wheel, reversed and ran him over. He took off, the cops got him at home, and he plead guilty to attempted felonious assault. If he had a gun, I probably wouldn't be here to tell this story. I stayed as calm as I could, didn't fight back, and still ended up getting attacked. People look for fights.

    Just be careful out there folks. Imagine everyone is packing and they're looking for an excuse to shoot.

  16. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Rich:

    ___That was a very scary and real world story that needed to be told. Especially in a thread like this.

    ___Thank you and I am glad it worked out Ok for you and your family in the end …

    ___Good Luck

  17. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

  18. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor

    A very interesting story. Many yrs. back I stopped or almost stopped at a railway crossing because it was rough to go over. The guy behind me flashed his "Brights" and held up a {Pistol} for me to see. That is really all that took place but I can tell you it got my (Attention-Immediately). As your story and comments point out, there are some real different kinds of people out there and I think if possible don't give them the reason to use you as their practice for an assault. You just never really know who is beside you, behind you and what they may do. Kinda Scary when one thinks about it. Your story brought back to me the Pistol Incident I had gone through all those yrs. back.

    Terry (tiger)
  19. RH77

    RH77 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the kind words regarding the incident. I mean, the guy was driving a beige and green RAV4 of all vehicles -- how non-threatening! I have to commend the Lee's Summit, MO PD for their quick response, but the dispatcher handled the call rather poorly. She recommended that we get close enough to get a plate and to stay on the line while they intercept. We should've just turned around in the median and got away as fast as we could.

    But alas, we can't change the past, but we can impact the future.

    Tiger -- that would've scared the living daylights out of me. I probably would've floored it to the nearest Sheriff's Office or PD. Do they have front license plates in TN? That's probably the best bet now that I think about it -- just hi-tail it for the nearest Police Station.

    Hobbit -- thanks for the link. I used to be a dangerous road-rager and within the last year (before the incident and moreso afterwards) I've calmed down. I guess there is something good to say about marriage. :p Calm down -- I'm JK. Actually my driving was affecting how my wife felt in the car when I drove, and I really needed to take control of it.

  20. tigerhonaker

    tigerhonaker Platinum Contributor


    TN. does not have front license plates.

    Here some real (Honesty) for you though regarding the Held up Pistol incident. I was really only thinking to myself this. Don't do anything but stay Calm and just drive on like you have not even looked in the Rear-View-Mirror and saw this Guy waving a Pistol around. This is True, No nothing as far as me acting like I saw Him or the Pistol or the Flash of the Bright Lights in my Rear-View-Mirror. I just drove in a normal manner at a normal speed and the 1st time I could make an exit off this two-lane road I did. He went his way and I went mine. Who really knows what is going on with people like that. Fight with Wife, Just got Fired, Girlfriend Kicked Him out, List of Possibilities is Endless but you know you do not want any part of what is going on inside that persons Head. I can tell you though I was shaken up by the whole thing for awhile just mainly because all I really did was slow way down to go across the rail road crossing on a two lane country road that the speed limit was like 45 MPH. So it really floored me that anyone could have gotten that (Fired-Up) over someone simply slowing down to cross the rail way crossing. Something was going on with this guy in my mind and I did not want to find out what.

    Terry (tiger)

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