Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Tailgater repellant

Device frightens tailgaters
  (+27, -10)(+27, -10)
(+27, -10)
  [vote for,
against]

A bicycle rack that mounts to the back of your car and can "release" the bicycle in incriments to repel tailgaters. A drop of a few inches should encourage tailgater maintain proper interval between vehicles. Bicycle can then be "reset" for next use.
boogabooga, Jun 23 2002

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       best idea I've heard all day! Can't fault it....
dijit, Jun 23 2002
  

       Excellent. I will try this.
8th of 7, Jun 23 2002
  

       Innovative to say the least.
kaz, Jun 23 2002
  

       the drops should be controllable by the driver and as the bicycle nears the road, should be accompanied by a visual display of sparks......
po, Jun 23 2002
  

       bliss, silly, it just *looks* shaky - its not a real danger.
po, Jun 23 2002
  

       Yes, that sounds much less distracting than a bicycle that looks like it is about to fall off the bicycle rack :)
mwburden, Jun 24 2002
  

       Agreed with bliss. Anything that frightens a driver could cause a bad reaction. I don't want the guy in front of me to have such a reaction. This is dangerous. (Yes, I know tailgating is dangerous too. Two wrongs and all that...)   

       Driving through the Pennsylvania Poconos on I-80, you will come across a few sections of highway that are marked with rows of evenly spaced large dots right down the center of the lane. A sign informs you that you should maintain a distance from the car ahead of you such that there are always two dots visible between the vehicles. I thought it was a good idea, but unfortunately no one follows its advice.
waugsqueke, Jun 24 2002
  

       Waugsqueke: We have the same thing on the M6, except it's chevrons. If you follow the instructions, lots of drivers just pull straight out in front of you. Human nature, huh ?
8th of 7, Jun 24 2002
  

       The safest thing to do when you notice you're being tailgated is to slow down. It will probably cause the tailgater to get frustrated and pass you, but even if s/he can't or doesn't, slowing down reduces the severity of any possible collision that may result. This includes collisions with the possible domino effect.   

       Besides, this idea sounds more like a joke found on one of those candid camera tv shows than a practical solution. If it ever became mainstream, people would become desensitized to it and fail to react properly when a bike actually does come loose.   

       To sum up: I loathe tailgaters! Don't cry "wolf" on the road. For safety's sake, resist that vengefulness that bubbles up deep inside you when those maniacs appear on your road. Use the two-second following rule to ensure proper stopping distance, and add an additional second for a tailgater behind you.
XSarenkaX, Jun 24 2002
  

       My 20+ year old Mercedes Diesel which still passes all applicable emissions standards will make a good amount of smoke when you put your foot to the floor and it begins to make what little horsepower it can make. [Steve DeGroof]'s suggested method is highly effective at night. I have used it once or twice for car's that follow with their high beams on. They usually change lanes.
half, Jun 24 2002
  

       Hmm... just releasing the bike a little could indeed freak out the driver behind you. Just a little. Not enough to be noticeable to a car that is at proper following distance, lest the idea be hijacked by a road prankster.   

       But it seems to me that people might become hardened to this threat after seeing it enough times, as [XSarenkaX] noted.
polartomato, Jun 24 2002
  

       // The safest thing to do when you notice you're being tailgated is to slow down. //   

       Quite so. The Driving Manual suggests this is to increase your safety margin should the driver in front of you brake suddenly.   

       The cynic in me suspects they they omit to add the rather more chilling "because if he does the arsehole behind you is going to be pushing you into him".   

       And the coward in me suspects it's more to entice the tailgater into overtaking and menacing someone else.   

       (I seem to be making a lot of driving-related annos recently. Sorry. 8 lessons in and theory test imminent; I have this stuff coming out of my ears. Quick: what colour are the studs on the left side of a motorway?)
JKew, Jun 26 2002
  

       Puce?
calum, Jun 26 2002
  

       Studs?
waugsqueke, Jun 27 2002
  

       Yeah. On the left side (that would be your right side) of the road there are reflective pads about 3" square to indicate the edge of the shoulder. They're red, but where an on-ramp joins, they're green.
angel, Jun 27 2002
  

       Motorcyclists have been known to throw handfulls of ball bearings from their saddle packs if tailgated.. g'head, ask me how my window got a bunch of cracks in it...   

       Tailgating itself is dangerous- it doesn't matter if the bozo on your bumper is slamming on the brakes because a bike looks to be falling, or if a ladder falls off a truck, or if you just plain slow down- there is no "safe" way to space people out.
Mr Burns, Jun 27 2002
  

       Got it: an anti tailgate light. Only operates above 80 kph, when someone comes within the two second distance of your back end it activates a high beam rear light. Perhaps have it come on gradually to avoid a bright flash.   

       What I do not understand is, why tailgate? it is easier to pass when you get a run at it from a few seconds back. Most of the cars I've owned don't respond well to pulling out to pass and flooring it, just make more noise.
rbl, Jun 27 2002
  

       The anti-tailgate light is also known as your brake light. Some people I know touch their brakes to light them up while driving with tailgaters behind them. I won't try it myself, because I'm scared I'll put too much pressure on the brake and cause a collision from my own stupidity. Also, I discourage something like that because it keeps you occupied with what's behind you rather than the whole driving experience, adding to the danger.
XSarenkaX, Jun 27 2002
  

       XS- I refer to the brake light as the GET THE HELL OFF MY BUMPER light. Was hoping for something a little more passive........
rbl, Jun 27 2002
  

       My solution to tailgaters? My old car had a rear windshield wiper, with a nozzle for spraying cleaning fluid. I just adjusted it so that it sprayed directly backwards. When tailgated, I'd press the button and mist the offender's windshield. This would usually deposit just enough fluid to create annoying speckles on the glass. Turning on the wipers would only result in turning the speckles into streaks.   

       Other considered solutions were a handful of pennies tossed out the window, or a handful of those "pop-it" fireworks that explode on impact, or even half-eaten fast food items. (Hmm...burrito meets windshield at 80mpg...)   

       These days, I'm a bit more mature (read: boring), and am more inclined to just move over and let the tailgater pass. Of course, just in case, I keep a 200-lumen SureFire C3 flashlight in the glove compartment...
Guncrazy, Jun 28 2002
  

       Looks like we've got a tailgater in our midst. gonzonjen, I'm looking right at you. I'm not defending fogies who go slower than the limit, but sitting on the ass of the slow driver in front of you does not make you go faster, so what's the point? If the slow fogie in front of you hasn't noticed the speed limit and/or his/her driving speed, what makes you think s/he is going to notice your tailgating them? If you must pass, then pass; don't be an ass.
XSarenkaX, Jun 28 2002
  

       But lets look at the word "speed limit," lets *really* look at the word. It's not "speed suggestion," it's not "speed guess," it's not "speed alternative;" it's "speed LIMIT." According to dictionary.com limit means the greatest or least amount, number, or extent allowed or possible (def #4). Ever wonder why you get tickets for going over it? You endanger your life as well as the lives of others around you. The local government says you are not allowed to go over this *limit* (theres that word again) without possibly killing yourself and/or others, that it is wrong, and you should be fined if caught doing this. I know I have speeded(is that a word) before, god knows I have the tickets to prove it, but I have grown up since then and realized that my life is worth more then getting a quick rush or getting to the fast food restraunt before 3 other people or just trying to pass for fun. I've had more then enough tailgaters and I usually just ignore them. If they cause an accident with me it goes on their insurance and they have to pay for the damages done to my car; and I know several mechanics and I know which one to go to for the most expensive repairs. If I am on the freeway I usually go right at the limit (damn that word) or about 5 above, and I try to stay in the middle or right lanes. I still get tailgaters, so what do I do you ask. Well, my car isn't the most tweaked in the world so when my foot falls off the gas it doesn't keep on going at the speeds it was origianlly. Like Steve said, the brake lights don't come on and the idiot behind me gets a quick lesson in physics. I like this idea because it teaches people to pay attention to their surroundings while driving. I also like po's addition of sparks. But I have to conced to what Bliss said, it could potentially cause a pile-up. We just had a pile-up not too far from here and several people I know got hurt, several people were killed in the wreck, but I didn't know them. Right now I am going to stay netural.
barnzenen, Jun 28 2002
  

       well said barnzenen. may I just add that in the UK there is not a *fast* lane, there is an overtaking lane.
po, Jun 28 2002
  

       [barnzenen] - When confronted by an angry drunk with a gun, it may be perfectly legal to taunt him with rude gestures, vocally slander his mother, and otherwise provoke him, but it is not a particularly bright thing to do. Furthermore, while you may maintain the moral high ground if he opens fire, this will be of little consolation to you if you are hit, and even less to the passers by who might happen to be hit by stray bullets.   

       Likewise, your cavalier self-righteousness about being less a lawbreaker at 5mph over the limit than the asshole on your bumper trying to do 10mph over is foolish. It puts you and other drivers at risk, as your passive-aggressive behavior may spark an incident of "road rage". Even if you are not directly affected by the other driver's fury, his aggravation may cause him to drive more aggressively, increasing the odds that he will cause an accident involving some innocent motorist.   

       In short, get off your high horse and move the fuck over.
Guncrazy, Jun 29 2002
  

       Car:Tailgating, no?
phoenix, Jun 29 2002
  

       WD40 + Castor Oil + tailpipe = thick black smoke with bonus of unremovable shellac coating on whatever smoke lands on. Don't say you weren't warned.
thumbwax, Jun 29 2002
  

       Better things through chemistry.   

       Bottom line, driving has ceased to be fun.
reensure, Jun 30 2002
  

       Po,   

       On Most motorways in the UK, there are in fact TWO overtaking lanes ;-)
JimNicho, Oct 11 2002
  

       //Driving through the Pennsylvania Poconos on I-80, you will come across a few sections of highway that are marked with rows of evenly spaced large dots right down the center of the lane. A sign informs you that you should maintain a distance from the car ahead of you such that there are always two dots visible between the vehicles. I thought it was a good idea, but unfortunately no one follows its advice.//   

       In other words, "I told you so"! (cept maybe they should put the dots sideways inbetween the lanes...)
blissmiss, Oct 11 2002
  

       An obvious idea would be to make bumpers actually... bouncey... And literally "repel" the tailgater...
oli-oli, Oct 11 2002
  

       I recall some "hot rodders," back in the '50s and early '60s, would install a spark plug in the tailpipe of their car. Running off a seperate ignition coil in the trunk, and activated by a switch under the dash, the plug would ignite unburned fuel in the exhaust, causing a really impressive 10' flame to flare out the end of the car. Probably would really impress tailgaters... Is this what you had in mind?
whlanteigne, Oct 20 2002
  

       Are you sure it was 10' and not 10"? Man, either way - that's some motivation to go out and make one.
As for the original idea - if you've ever seen a car with a wobbly bike on the back pass you, then see the bike *actually* fall off - and the sprocket pierce an old ladies tire - then you, the good samaritan - changed that tire for her - you'd think it was a bad idea. Been there, done that.
thumbwax, Oct 21 2002
  

       Wishful thinking led me astray here. I thought this idea was about "trailer hitch repellant."   

       I do like the novelty of the idea described. croissant.   

       thumbwax, how do you dispense the *castor oil recipe without gluing up your own tail pipe doing these related shenanigans?
hollajam, Oct 21 2002
  

       Something I've wondered about for years and never satisfied was just awakened by [whlanteigne]'s anno. Has anyone actually seen the exhaust pipe spark plug bodge in action? I worked in an parts shop for a couple of years and we regularly discussed it (including the enhancement of using a chrome exhaust trim pipe to mount the plug on, thus making it removable for MOT purposes) but I never encountered anyone who'd actually seen or done it. This seems like a likely forum in which to find a nutter who has tried this.   

       Also, I have read quite a few anti tailgating ideas today and a pattern has emerged: [thumbwax] really loves his WD40 and castor oil trick, it appears on at least four threads.
stilgar, Oct 21 2004
  

       Brilliant! Actually, someone I know unintenionally tried this - and it works. You see, he took to motorcycling, and transporting the motorcycle between Maryland and Pennsylvania. He put on the bumper of his pickup truck. Now, it was a specially designed rack for carrying motorcycles. But the funny part was from the back, the support arms were not visible at all. So it looks like the motorcycle is just floating against the back of this old pickup truck. He reported that the road would stay clear for about 6 car lengths behind him on the turnpike!
undata, Mar 16 2007
  
      
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