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Bad Drivers: Tailgaters, Rear-enders, and Self-Defense Strategies

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The Oregonian’s Test Drive blog on Commuting had this article, “How to escape the scourge of the tailgater,” posted by Joseph Rose, The Oregonian June 08, 2009.

The actual statistics also match with my impressions from a while ago, when I looked at jury verdicts and rear-enders.

Those of us in front of tailgaters will recognize everyone, and all self-defense actions, described in the blog post. There is an interesting suggestion on how to cope safely with tailgaters, ones who are bad drivers and those with anger management problems:

Excerpt: ‘…Between 2003 and 2007, the last year in which data from the Oregon Department of Transportation are available, 40 percent of the 12,667 combined collisions reported in Portland, Gresham, Beaverton and Hillsboro were blamed on rear-end crashes.

Statewide, ODOT says 34 percent, or 15,117, of crashes fell under the same category during the same period.

…Jim Olding of Southeast Portland relies on something that admittedly might seem counterintuitive.

“Increase your own following distance,” Olding said. In other words, gently slow down.

That strategy gets high marks from Kathy Heaton, an instructor with America’s Driving School in Portland. In fact, it’s what she teaches her students.

By doing so, you both increase the space ahead of you and take into consideration the reduced reaction of your tailgater. The increased cushion also will allow you to brake more gently and reduce the chance of the tailgater rear-ending your vehicle, Heaton said.

But increase your following distance slowly. “Don’t slam on your brakes,” Heaton said.

Not even a quick “Back off!” tap?

“Don’t irritate them,” she said. “Then you really risk a collision.”’ (read full post)

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