Drivesmart: Tailgaters: a different kind of brake check

This is another instance where most drivers would shake their heads and ask themselves, “Just what were they thinking?”

This is another instance where most drivers would shake their heads and ask themselves, “Just what were they thinking?”

I’m speaking of a video of two drivers on a freeway using the left lane during an instance of congestion. The pickup noses up the rear end of the car and the car driver spikes the brakes resulting in a minor collision. I’ll venture to suggest that in this case, neither driver was thinking at all.

I did investigate an instance of this during my policing career. It happened on Highway 97 south of Penticton one summer. After the collision, the driver who had braked exited his vehicle and pointed out his bumper sticker to the other driver. The bumper sticker said “I Brake for Tailgaters!”

Tailgating or following too closely is epidemic on our highways. Some drivers do it because they are poor judges of visual distance, some are careless and others use it as a method of intimidating slower drivers to move them out of the way.

B.C. has begun to post two new road signs, one advising drivers to keep right and let others pass and the other suggesting one should be courteous and keep right to let others pass. Comments on the TranBC blog seem to indicate that drivers are ignoring the signs and that without significant enforcement by police nothing will change. It’s a pity that courtesy is not a consideration to extend to others when it comes to using the highway.

Self-preservation may mean slowing down further or even stopping off the roadway to encourage that tailgater to move on by.

Tim Schewe is a retired constable with many years of traffic law enforcement. To comment or learn more, please visit

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