At a recent networking event, we somehow got on the topic of tailgaters and drivers who don’t use their directionals. Both driving situations seemed to create levels of unease and annoyance for those around them.

Using a directional is second nature to me and provides information to other drivers about my intentions. I may ponder the motivations of those who don’t use them but my annoyance is when they cause me to miss a light or have to come to a sudden stop.

When it comes to tailgaters, in my experience there are various types:

  • Those who honk for you to get out of the way even though there is a passing lane
  • Tailgaters who think they can safely drive too close while also being on the phone
  • Those who tailgate and pass only to then tailgate again (serial tailgaters).

I experienced the combined feelings of unease and frustration most recently with an SUV who was following closely behind me on a two lane road. When the car in front of me slowed down to make a right turn, I slowed as well. The closeness of the tailgating SUV became apparent when he almost rear-ended me. The SUV driver continued to closely tailgate until I finally pulled over and let him pass.

Even though the specifics of a textbook “safe distance” are not readily at my fingertips, I know that tailgaters cause a reaction within me and create unsafe driving conditions. While I am unclear on their motivation which could include any of the following – in a hurry, think driving close will get me to speed up, forgot the lessons of safe driving, fail to realize the car in front of you is driving slowly – to me it feels they lack a degree of consideration for others on the road.

This experience with the SUV prompted me to think about other situations in which people encroach on my personal space or make my space feel unsafe. Consider how you feel when:

  • Standing in line at a store when the next person moves up before your transaction is completed
  • Attending an event where a person stands so close, you have to step back
  • Working in an open office space where there are no boundaries

In this holiday season, think about how you can be more considerate of others by giving them the space and distance they need.

If you find yourself triggered when your space feels “invaded”, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.

© 2019 Systems of Change, LLC