Drafting Dum-Dums

Young woman sitting in driver's seat of a car, proudly holding up keys

There have always been terrible drivers. Cowboys in the old west probably had complaints about other horse riders who crowded them. Fun fact: roller-derby was invented by a frustrated roller-skater who got fed up with being run into.*

But it seems to me that the most common type of bad driver has changed. Tailgaters aren’t unusual but I’m finding they’re different now. Instead of sticking to your back bumper in a (misguided) effort to get you to speed up, now they’re doing it just to hang out there. It’s as if they think that’s the proper way to drive. It’s called ‘drafting’ in racing.

NASCAR drivers use this technique at Talladega and Daytona. Here’s a broad explanation from How Stuff Works:

Drafting can only be accomplished with two or more cars. When the lead car rockets down the track it pushes through the air leaving a disturbed, or “dirty,” wake behind it. The second car can slip into that disturbed air-stream and reap the benefits –greater speeds and better fuel efficiency.

How Stuff Works – How NASCAR Drafting Works

Believing that drivers are hanging on my ass-end because they’re drafting is much better than the alternative: they’re idiots.

Again, these are drivers who have no intention of passing. They might not even be in a hurry. They just ride at an unsafe distance behind you and stay there. It’s like your car is their car’s mommy and they want to stay close and safe from the scary world. Only it’s not safe at all.

Talladega and Daytona are “restrictor plate” races. Because of so many previous wrecks, cars are intentionally (and mechanically) slowed down. The problem with that is, cars bunch up and if there’s a crash, the crashing car tends to take out a bunch of competitors with it.

If I’m doing 100 km/hr on Highway 40 and some asshat is clinging to my bumper and doesn’t take the opportunity to pass, if it’s safe to do so, I’ll pull to the right and make him/her go by me. It’s so dangerous to cling to someone’s posterior like that and frankly, it’s also annoying.

Do you see this more often now? My driving instructor taught us to stay a count of at least two seconds behind the car ahead of us. And that’s in perfect weather.

Maybe they’re texting while they drive and think it’s safer to do what the person in front of them is doing? They’re lazy? Or perhaps they don’t know any better. But how can there be so many of them? I really want to know.

*That is not how roller-derby actually started. It began when roller-skating marathoners began fighting and an opportunistic show-boat was in the audience. That man’s name: Donald Trump.**

**That is also not true.

3 thoughts on “Drafting Dum-Dums”

  1. Ellen Warren

    I have had this happen to me more often lately! I keep wondering how some of these people manage to get a drivers licence. And the amount of distracted drivers seems to be increasing! I had a friend who was hit by a distracted driver ( the girls 9th charge of DD). My friend was on her harley…she is alive, almost lost her foot, but she had started a campaign called “I pinky swear” she is embarking on a cross Canada tour this June on her new Harley stopping at many Harley dealers to raise awareness
    https://www.ipinkyswear.org/

    1. This is a wonderful campaign. As a motorcycle rider, it astonishes me how many people in vehicles don’t seem to appreciate that we have no metal around us for protection. (Cyclists see this every day, too.) Thanks for sharing it.

  2. This is especially dangerous now that amber alerts are being pushed to our phones. Peter was driving home on Horton Street when the last one went off and there was a sea of brake lights lighting up. If people had been tailgating a serious accident could have occurred.

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