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"You've got a good pace going, keep it up" light

Let the driver ahead of you know you're not taking anything out on him/her
  [vote for,

The interstate gets pretty heavy traffic in the local area here, especially during after-work hours. I generally prefer to be one of the faster-moving vehicles, passing people frequently. But sometimes, I notice somebody is setting a good pace and seems quite adept at negotiating through the traffic patterns so they don't have to slow down much, and I think "he knows what he's doing, what not just follow him?".

Well, in heavy traffic, you have to stay pretty close to follow somebody or you'll get separated by a slower driver, and once that happens you're screwed.

I'd like a WHITE light above my windshield (on the outside) so when I'm following somebody, they see the light and know I'm not tailgating to be an asshole, I'm doing it in recognition of their superior driving ability.

Conversely, I'd like a GREEN (it means "GO", after all)light that I can turn on when I'm stuck behind a really slow driver so there's no confusion as to why I'm following *them*.

21 Quest, Oct 18 2006

These guys have it down, no lights needed http://www.abbike.c...aphics/paceLine.jpg
[normzone, Oct 18 2006]


       Speaking of Ford Exploders, I had the misfortune of borrowing one to run some errands in the city yesterday. I felt like such a tool.

       It boggles the mind that some people would actually choose a vehicle like that for urban/highway driving.

       As for the idea, a couple of years ago I would have bunned it, but now I'm siding with [jmvw]. Good advice there.
Texticle, Oct 18 2006

       //Perhaps it will help to image that old person in front of you is your own grandmother//

       I wouldn't want my own grandmother behind the wheel of any vehicle because she doesn't have the reaction time necessary to adjust to changing traffic conditions, and her heart's not in reliable enough condition to risk an attack on the road. My aunt just got put in the hospital because an old lady lost control of her vehicle, jumped a lane divider, and hit her head-on.

       If an elderly driver cannot handle his/her vehicle at the posted speed limits, it's a good bet they can't handle it if something unexpected happens on the road, and therefore they should not be on the road. By tailgating, I'm simply encouraging the elderly driver to hang up his keys and call a cab.

       I admit you're probably right about slowing down and increasing my following distance, though, so I'm not disputing that. I apologize if that came out as defensive, it wasn't meant that way.
21 Quest, Oct 18 2006

       woops, I accidentally deleted my anno! Here it is again, for everyone's enjoyment:

       Yeah, but you're still tailgating. If a tire tread, muffler, deer, Ford Exploder, whatever comes in front of the path of the car ahead of you and he needs to hit the brakes really hard, you're either going to hit him or he wont dare to brake to avoid you doing that and he will hit whatever comes into his way because of you.

       Driving like that is fine until a surprise occurs. Or someone is on the phone. Or drinks coffee. Or changes the radio station. Or is dreaming away. Most peoplelack the roll cages, five point harness, helmet, fire extinguisher that are required in racing for a good reason.

       Believe me, I've made some stupid mistakes (such as driving 50mph in deep snow in my little rwd car and spinning out in front of tractor trailers). After a while I started to think about risks.

       Chilling out is the solution. Most people tailgate. Perhaps it will help to image that old person in front of you is your own grandmother.

       Drive safely and find some kind of extreme sport to excel in.

       OK, i'm out of advice
jmvw, Oct 18 2006

       My 2 cents (actually 2 pence).
Chilling out is good as per [jmvw] says - I chill out too!.
For situations where the traffic is so slow then switching lanes repeatedly does not work and has actually been seen to be a contributary factor.
However, on extended journeys where the traffic is not sooo bad I have noticed that one can establish a rapport with other drivers (which I think is what [21Q] is alluding to). I have noticed that if you use your mirrors and indicate correctly when changing lanes then the driver behind will usually cut you some slack and flash you out. If you then reciprocate 2miles down the road then the rapport can be established. This shows that you are both aware of each others pace and judgement and can allow each other to change lanes when appropriate and even when things get a bit tight.
Note that this observation is only based on experience, but I have seen and employed this tactic many times to the point where I have waved thank you and goodbye to the driver (or vice-versa) and we have both gone happily on our ways.


       I guess that a light isn't really necessary as good observation and planning will suffice, and indeed are the essential prerequisites of good driving, and that [21Q]'s idea is more reactive (hanging on the coat tails of someones fortune) than proactive.
gnomethang, Oct 18 2006

       As [gnomethang] says, good use of signals and mirrors can create this effect when driving with other aware drivers. I once travelled from London to Manchester like this with another driver and we took turns in creating space for letting the other one overtake.

       Having had cars in front of me have blow outs and lose items off the roof rack, I always try to leave enough room and have noticed that tailgating can often result in the person being tailgated driving more slowly as they feel intimidated and hope that people will pass them, even if the road isn't suitable for overtaking.
oneoffdave, Oct 18 2006

       The light could be an LED that says "TOOL", so he knows why you are tailgating him despite his desperate efforts to flee.
GutPunchLullabies, Oct 18 2006

       I've frequently established rapport with drivers in that same way myself, as gnomethang stated. I was just thinking a light could help with that process. Also, it signals to other drivers in the other lanes that you wish to stay behind the vehicle you are following, and hopefully they'll be courteous and abstain from separating you.
21 Quest, Oct 18 2006

       Bone! I am selfish. If I manage to weave my way through traffic and someone is tailgating me, I will just pull over and let them pass. That way if they get stuck, they won't keep tailgating me as I make my way through the thick of it.
Jscotty, Oct 18 2006

       Me 2
jmvw, Oct 18 2006

       Not jiving on the tailgating aspect of this light, but I like the idea of a light which lets others know you're hooked up with the vehicle in front of you, so that you can leave some space without fear of another driver swooping in.

       True thing: at my father's burial the hearse driver kept changing lanes and driving fast so no one realized we were a procession, and they kept cutting in. Eventually we lost a bunch of people and gained some others from a different funeral. It was very strange.
pigtails_and_ponies, Oct 19 2006


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