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Your Safety / Part 1: Meet the Road Gods!

19 Dec 2019

Driver sees tailgater in rear view mirror
Driver sees tailgating pickup truck in rear view mirrow—quite scary

The aggressive driving problem has only gotten worse on our public roads, making road cycling more dangerous! Already, state and local governments are stepping up law enforcement to combat this menacing problem.

Part 1 in a series | See related article: Your Safety / Part 2: Meet the Road Gods!

"If only I had a panel where I could fire a missile, I would take 'em out!" said a member of clergy. Sounds like real fighting words, doesn't it? But then, it's the sheer frustration that leads to road rage, especially against aggressive drivers especially those who operate larger vehicles. No turn signals, no safe following, no speed limits—just "get out of my way."

Ladies and Gentlemen, meet the Road Gods. Your mission: Pay the taxes on time, get out of the way, and don't protest. The Road Gods rule! Even though we all pay taxes to have a right to drive on public roads, the Road Gods own it!

Cyclists who choose to share a road with the Road Gods are taking life into their own hands. The best alternatives are bike/hike trails. Fortunately, San Antonio is one of many cities to have these trails.

For motorists, it is quite common for them to see their rearview mirrors filled out with the grillworks of a tailgater, especially during Christmas time. The roads are jammed with yuletide shoppers. Police officers have advised, "Do not retaliate—do not protest; otherwise, you may encounter some lead." An officer who works patrol duty at Community Bible Church cautioned that "you will be surprised at the number of drivers who pack heat (guns)."

Overall, it's the concrete version of a dog fight where a motor vehicle can be used as a weapon. Numerous articles have been published on road rage in various national magazines and newspapers. The major broadcasters have aired pieces on road rage. Without a doubt, it is a growing problem, especially where traffic is congested and people are under a great deal of stress. It had been noted that the workplace had contributed to the problem as jobs become more competitive, thus adding to the stress level. Overall, Americans are basically an "individualistic" society that deters from a cooperative effort, which is much needed nowadays to deal with traffic issues (as well as with other social issues). It's the same old song: Every individual is looking out for "Number One."

Cops in various cities are bearing down on aggressive drivers. But then, there is a political side to this story. A ticket issued for following too closely, popularly known as "tailgating," may not hold up in most courts. A Houston attorney explained that in order to get a tailgating charge to stick in the courts, the other driver who was victimized must appear in court too. And, that's too much trouble for most people. They just "shut up and put up" and deal with the grillworks imaging their mirrors.

Not only did the courts go as far as giving the Road Gods tailgating leverage, some states have handed down decisions regarding rearend accidents. In Texas, if one were rearended, it used to be almost a slam dunk to win a case against the other driver. Not anymore. In fact, if you were tailgated and you do the slightest change in your driving habits and caused an accident, the negligence could go back on you. Some motorists have been known to slam on their brakes to retaliate against a tailgater. Should they do that in Texas and cause an accident, they may be held liable. Over and over, police officers have cautioned: "Do not retaliate." We mentioned earlier that you could invite a spray of lead; here, you could draw a lawsuit. In some cases, you could get arrested.

It's no doubt, aggressive drivers are a growing concern. Please take a few moments and write your legislators and hope that you don't get ghosted. Remember, it's your safety and your pocketbook at stake.

—SRR News Services

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