This post is addressed to you, bald guy in the BMW, and you, middle-aged lady in the Acura, and you, dude in the shiny white pickup truck, and you, blonde in the cute blue VW:
BACK THE FUCK OFF.
Your driving closer and closer to my rear bumper is NOT, I repeat NOT, going to cause me to close the gap between my car and the car in front of me. Unlike you, you overaggressive twit, I’m leaving a safe distance between my car and the car in front of me. Would you like to know why? Because I don’t want to die.
I’m not holding you up. I’m not driving one mph more slowly than you are. I’m Just. Not. Tailgating. Tailgating is a moron’s attempt to refute the laws of physics. The laws of physics state that a body in motion tends to remain in motion. Know what that means, pinbrain? If the driver of the car in front of me for some reason is abruptly forced to apply the brakes—if, for example, a deer runs out from the roadside, or a truck blows out a retread, or a ladder falls off a van—all of which I’ve actually observed on my drives along what the Daily Beast last year decreed to be the 18th worst commute in the nation—and I, likewise, stop abruptly, I’m not going to go through that driver’s rear bumper. Whereas if I’m abruptly forced to apply my brakes, you’re going to kill me and inconvenience a few hundred thousand other people. And why? Because you think I’m not driving close enough to the car in front of me.
Listen! Listen to the voice of reason! It makes no difference whatsoever to you if I leave three, or five, or even seven car-lengths between me and that car, even though seven’s the recommendation, since we’re going 70 miles an hour. The average car is 18 feet long. You’re a pinbrain, so I’ll do the math: Experts recommend I leave 126 feet between my front bumper and that rear bumper up ahead. One hundred twenty-six feet. Forty-two yards. Almost half a football field. For LeSean McCoy, a really fine run. You know what’s number five on the American Medical Association’s list of safe driving tips? “Keep enough distance between you and the car in front of you.” The six inches of ease you’re currently maintaining between my car and yours? NOT ENOUGH SPACE.
You’re thinking if you ride right up on my bumper and sit there, I’ll feel pressured into closing the safety gap I’ve left ahead of me. Guess what? I won’t. In fact, nothing you do or try or say—and yeah, I can see you screaming at me; I use my rearview mirror—can make me as flat-out stupid as you. But if this is the way you want to live—your blood pressure soaring, redfaced with vicious road rage—you go ahead. I’ll be right here in front of you, wondering whether it’s worth it to suddenly just HIT MY BRAKES.