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We interrupt this regularly scheduled blogcast for an important public safety announcement.

Ever since being rear-ended in my automobile a month ago, I have been much more cognizant of bad driving. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I didn’t notice the tailgaters, the over-the-line weavers, the speeders, the ignorers of right-of-way, the blowers of stop signs, and the too-close-for-comfort cutters before. It’s just that getting hit has heightened my awareness, particularly of those behaviors that are easily preventable. I’m going to pick on two: speeding and tailgating.

First, a definition. While the law may define speeding as driving even one mile over the speed limit, I realize that’s not particularly realistic. For the purposes of this blog post and my comfort level, anything above five miles over the speed limit is speeding.

Now, to ramp up the outrage …

Honestly, people, speed limits are posted for a reason. If I am going the speed limit, why do you need to shoot past me as though I’m some sort of slothful annoyance? The highway is not a racetrack, you’re not Mario Andretti, and your car is definitely NOT a Formula 1 race car. Your speeding is not going to get you wherever your going a helluva lot faster than doing the speed limit and if you left late for some critical (to you) appointment, that isn’t my fault. If you cause an accident, crash, or get pulled over while speeding, I guarantee you won’t arrive on time. So do us all a favor, mmkay? Exercise an easy gentleness with that gas pedal or use the cruise control.

If you really have trouble controlling your speed, do what I do and make a game of it. I try to see how steady I can keep the needle on my speedometer without using the cruise control.  This is harder than it sounds. Normally I can keep my speed within one-to-two miles under or over the posted speed limit quite easily, but getting the needle to stay rock solid on the speed limit is quite the trick.

Speeding in combination with tailgating is especially dangerous and, for some reason, speeders LOVE to tailgate. Don’t think I don’t know you’re back there, urging me to go faster or get out of your way. Your windshield fills my entire rear-view mirror. Did you not get the memo on proper following distance during driver’s ed? There’s a reason for that, you know. It’s so when I have to brake suddenly, your vehicle doesn’t come piling into mine, thus making you late for wherever the f*** you need to be.

In case you’ve forgotten what the proper following distance is, the Minnesota Driver’s Manual and Minnesota Department of Transportation (along with ChaCha) recommends a minimum three-second following distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. Minnesota law allows law enforcement to hand out citations for tailgating, which is news to me. It must not be enforced with any regularity because of how many people engage in this behavior.

Maintaining a proper following distance is easy for me because I like to be in a protective bubble of space while driving. It’s like the personal space bubble I maintain for my body when I’m in a crowd, only it’s extended to include my car. Because I keep space between me and other cars, even while stopped at a stoplight, when I was rear-ended, my car was not pushed into the one in front of me, thus saving someone else the shock and inconvenience of an accident.

If motorists would hold off on speeding and tailgating, driving would not only be safer, but more enjoyable.

So ends the rage-y preach-fest.

We now resume our regularly scheduled blogcast.

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