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Author Topic: Virginia's draconian new driving laws
steven
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Scott, when he did this to me, I couldn't see if he was a trooper. I didn't know that they guy was still patrolling in Stokes, or even still a state trooper. My worry was that it was somebody who wanted to get into a wreck. Why else would you come flying up behind someone on a curvy mountain road in the middle of a dark night, and start tailgating about 18 inches off their back bumper? Granted, it may have not been a logical assumption on my part--I was actually afraid that the imagined nutcase or criminal knew the stop sign was there, and was trying to make a wreck happen at that spot, particularly. We don't have many such crazies in Stokes, if any, and no outsider would know the roads that well. It was just such odd behavior, and he caught me off guard. I don't always improvise that well, if something unexpected happens. in this case, I really don't know what would have been appropriate.
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aspectre
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"These are absurd."

Not even close. Allowing this is absurd.
And that ain't even the worst of it.

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Mucus
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As a point of note, the average speed on 400-series highways here in Canada is definitely about 120km/h or 75mph (despite the speed limit ranging from 100 to 110).

On the German autobahn, the *recommended* speed is 130 km/h or 80 mph.

In my personal experience, I usually follow the traffic and usually have to slow down from 120km/h to 100km/h to do so when crossing the border to drive to NY or Washington.

Looking online, it does not seem that there is a big difference in safety between the two countries and I think that a large part of this is simply what you are used to (driving at). Speed limits in the US are a tad artificially low at least for highways.

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steven
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Mucus, our highway speeds vary quite a bit, and they have to. I've read that out in Montana, if you get pulled by a cop, your fine is $5, payable right then, and the ticket doesn't go on your record. People regularly go 120 mph there on the open highways. Why not? The land is pancake flat, you can see in every direction for miles, no animals are around, and the roads are practically empty. The roads there almost never have curves, either.

However, 120 mph would get you killed fast on Interstate 40 going through the North Carolina mountains. That road is curvy, hilly, and busy. I hate driving on it through there.

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Desu
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That's true, I remember going through Montana on a road trip and really noticing a huge diffrence in speeds.

I guess the US is tricky to handle as you can't generalize about a 51 (?) state country stretching over thousands of miles with 300million inhabitants.

All I know for sure is that I find the laws implemented in VA and TX overly harsh and cruel. There must be other, more community friendly ways of getting tax money.

Also some cops are assholes and this feature is magnified by the power and authority they weild over ordinary people. You can't talk back, shouldn't argue and are pretty much at their mercy when pulled over. That's why their motto is " To serve and Protect ", not " To mindlessly enforce the letter of the law no matter the circumstance ". Each incident is unique and a good cop will exercise good judgment and hopefully those who make geniuine mistakes and repent to the best of their ability will get by okay, and the criminals and assholes will not. But it's not a perfect or fair world and lots of people are jerks.

Ahem.

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BlackBlade
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Steven: If you are being tailgated and you don't mind a small dent that the other driver's insurance will have to pay for simply shift your car into first gear and your car will suddenly slow down without brake lights turning on.

Rear ending another car is virtually ALWAYS the back drivers fault.

------
As for Virginia's laws being too strict. I know that *I* personally have to have a punishment that sticks for me to take a rule seriously.

I drove for 7 years before I got a single speeding ticket. I got two within two days of each other out of the blue, both for going 11 over the speed limit. I was outraged but I paid the tickets, my insurance is FAR higher then I think is fair, but you can bet I drive at the most 5 over the speed limit now.

In Singapore their laws may be really harsh, but littering just does not happen there.

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aspectre
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"It should be trivial to set up a sting operation for this joker."

Yep, real easy

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Desu
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BlackBlade,

Although it is true that Singapore is able to maintain a very high standard of living due to it's tough, no-nonsense policies with regards to drugs, littering, public misconduct and vadilism, this is also because it is a very small and very easily monitored island-city-state.

However, the Untied-States is not a small island dictatorship, it's citizens have constituional rights, and this countries economic survival does not depend on it's prestine image. The laws in Singapore are draconian and they work there because it's such a small, easily policed society.
The low corruption and strick regime allow the citizens to benifit from foreign investment and therefore a higher standard of living as jobs are created and taxes better the urban landscape.

In the USA, laws vary by state and the government is by no means poor, although many of the citizens must work 50h a week to make ends meat in a car oriented society. When you take a working class man's car from him, it forces him to completely change his lifestlye, change jobs, or change apartments, and for small families, single parents (in a libreral society), and immigrants who have no financial or familial buffer in case of emergency, the loss of a job and financial situation can mean ruin; from lower middle-class to poverty over night.

This is a bit of a dramatic strech it's true, yet I think that for certain people in certain situations the consequences are potentialy dire.

I suppose that on the other hand, when people become aware of the severity of their actions, and the serious consequences of a DUI, they will change their behavior. In this sense the law will probably be effective. Yet I can't help but feel that such harsh penalties for first time offenders, in 'minor DUI' cases (No injuries caused, no damage, barely above the legal limit) these laws are way out of proportion.

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ElJay
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
Steven: If you are being tailgated and you don't mind a small dent that the other driver's insurance will have to pay for simply shift your car into first gear and your car will suddenly slow down without brake lights turning on.

Rear ending another car is virtually ALWAYS the back drivers fault.

My, what a charitable and loving attitude you have towards your fellow man.

Added: In other words, while it may legally be the other driver's fault, downshifting with the intention of causing a minor accident and teaching someone a lesson is certainly not the right or ethical thing to do.

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Lyrhawn
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As someone who was sued for rear ending someone else when it clearly wasn't my fault, I have to say that's incredibly uncool Blackblade.
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BlackBlade
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Desu: I don't personally think we should transpose Singapore's laws in the US. But I do believe that laws with teeth are more likely to be obeyed then laws that slap wrists.

ElJay: Yes everytime somebody has tailgated me I purposefully attempt to cause an accident. /sarcasm

Steven is suggesting that a policeman is bullying people into getting tickets. Following somebody too close is against the law. If slowing down does not work, or trying to take another route also does not aleviate the problem, I have no qualms with taking the course I suggested. The person is getting punished in a situation that I can control rather then one wherein he inadvertantly causes me further injury because I had to slam on the brakes in a situation beyond my control.

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by steven:
Mucus, our highway speeds vary quite a bit, and they have to. I've read that out in Montana, if you get pulled by a cop, your fine is $5, payable right then, and the ticket doesn't go on your record. People regularly go 120 mph there on the open highways. Why not? The land is pancake flat, you can see in every direction for miles, no animals are around, and the roads are practically empty. The roads there almost never have curves, either.

Not true. Montana did at one time have no speed limit, but that's no longer the case. And if you get caught speeding on the interstate the fine is a good deal more than that (like most states, it varies based on the speed). Moreover, the land is not flat, and there are plenty of animals around. It's not an accident that Montana is an extremely popular destination for elk hunting, and they shoot deer like people in Louisiana shoot squirrel. Even moreover, it's not even physically possible to go 120 for any appreciable stretch of time on the interstate there. For one thing, there's snow on the roads for roughly 9 months of the year; it would be suicidal to drive those speeds in those conditions. And during the summer months? Road construction, virtually end to end of the interstate.

There are stretches in east Montana where it's pretty flat, and, provided there's no construction going on and the weather's good, it would be possible to fly through them. The state is a little more lax about enforcing the speed limit (at least moreso than most other states I've lived in), probably because they don't need the revenue as much and because it's so rare that the conditions are optimum for that kind of speed.

But most of what you posted there is completely unsubstantiated.

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Lyrhawn
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Has he tried lodging formal complaints with the officer's superiors?

Forcing someone into an accident to me would be an extreme last resort.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As someone who was sued for rear ending someone else when it clearly wasn't my fault, I have to say that's incredibly uncool Blackblade.

If you have the time I'd be very interested in hearing how it was not your fault. Not trying to find a way to pick nits, I'm genuinely interested.

Look there is a different between letting somebody who follows you around tailgating hit your bumper at 20mph then there is going 65 on the freeway and some speed demon who can't get past you tailgates you in his annoyance and wants you to get out of his way.

My advice was directed to Steven, not to tailgaters in general. Nobody seems to have a problem with setting up a sting. Maybe I am missing something obviously different between the two methods.

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ElJay
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You have no qualms with purposefully causing an accident to punish someone when you could simply pull to the side of the road and let them pass you. My comments stand.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Has he tried lodging formal complaints with the officer's superiors?

Forcing someone into an accident to me would be an extreme last resort.

OK I can agree with this.
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vonk
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Is tapping your breaks really forcing an accident (I drive an automatic, so I assume that's the equivilant of downshifting)? Tapping your breaks isn't unsafe, but following too closely is. I've always seen it as a warning to the person behind you that they are driving to closely, and if you have to break suddenly, they obviously won't be able to stop in time.

Would it be different if the intent were to get the person to back off, which is, I assume, the ultimate goal, not to get in an accident?

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by ElJay:
You have no qualms with purposefully causing an accident to punish someone when you could simply pull to the side of the road and let them pass you. My comments stand.

"Following somebody too close is against the law. If slowing down does not work, or trying to take another route also does not aleviate the problem, I have no qualms with taking the course I suggested."

If you don't think I have a charitable attitude towards my fellow man, so be it.

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Desu
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Also BlackBlade, although I do love your approach, at the end of the day you're denting a cops car, moreover a jerky cops car in a situation where it's gonna your word vs his, and he has the camera mounted on his dash...

If he states that you purposfully slowed down, and you say that he sped up, i'm pretty sure you'd get the ticket and have to repay the damages.

Like I said before, some cops are just power tripping a-holes trying to fill their quotas asap so they can take the rest of the month off easy.

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ElJay
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Edit: To vonk.
He didn't advocate tapping your breaks, he advocated downshifting in order to slow the car drastically without the breaklights coming on to warn the other driver. Manually shifting an automatic into first will act the same as hitting your breaks hard. Further he phrased it as for the express purpose of causing a minor accident, so I don't think your final assumption is warrented.

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Javert Hugo
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ElJay, BB's comments were very close to the suggestions for setting up a sting. I don't think the sarcasm and slur on his character were warranted.
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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
As someone who was sued for rear ending someone else when it clearly wasn't my fault, I have to say that's incredibly uncool Blackblade.

If you have the time I'd be very interested in hearing how it was not your fault. Not trying to find a way to pick nits, I'm genuinely interested.

I've posted about it elsewhere on Hatrack, but the gist is that on a three lane freeway where the posted speed limit was 70mph, I was going about 60mph (it had been raining earlier and I wasn't in a hurry to get home from school), and a woman in the right lane suddenly pulled into my lane, already going slower than me, without signaling and then slammed on her brakes. I had about two car lengths to stop and wasn't able to do so in time, so I hit her, and she sued me.

She intentionally dragged the lawsuit out over three years, because she knew I was a poor college student who had no money. At first she tried to go after my mother, but she didn't have any money either, so then the woman dragged out the court case trying to wait until I graduated college so she could garnish my wages when I was actually making decent money. She ended up settling out of court for $70K from my insurance company.

I was very tempted to try and get the insurance company to say no to the payoff, because I refused to let that conniving wench have any money at all, but I figured it wouldn't have done any good, so I've done my best to try and forget it.

Edit to add: I wanted to add that the officers who arrived on the scene were a mix of a blessing and a curse. The officer who talked to me gave me a half hearted speech about safe driving but said he wasn't going to give me a ticket for the accident, he didn't feel it was warranted. The officer who interviewed the woman who caused the accident filed HER version of the incident with the police station and mine was disregarded, which I didn't find out until way after the fact.

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vonk
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Ah, ok. I didn't realize downshifting would slow the car that much.

I heard the suggestion as an option after other, more peacable, solutions had failed. Also, I meant "ultimate goal" as in the goal of any solutions offered regarding the jerky cop, not the goal of BB's particular post.

So I guess my solution would be tapping the breaks. Not enough to get in an accident (unless the follower is being far too careless, in which case it's his fault) but enough to let him know that you know that he's there. And then continuing to tap your breaks until he either passes or you end up stopped. I guess it's a combo of the two solutions already proposed.

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ElJay
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And I think they were, JH. I think taking punishment into your own hands is very different from involving the authorities, and causing an accident is very different from catching someone on tape or with reliable witnesses. Plus he wasn't just advocating it for steven, he also said he's have no qualms about doing it himself with a non-trooper tailgater in the event he thought someone was tailgating him and didn't stop when he slowed down or turned. Purposefully causing an accident of any kind is despicable and dangerous, period.
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MrSquicky
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And that's not to mention the deliberate lying that would have to accompany such an act for it to be successful. He's not just advocating delibarately causing an accident, but also lying about it afterward.
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vonk
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Must ... resist ... pointless ... nit-picking ...
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Javert Hugo
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I think you're being selectively hard on him and I'm surprised at you.
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BlackBlade
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ElJay: As I understand it, my intent is not to cause an accident for the sake of getting into an accident. My intent is to discourage that driver from tailgating ever again. I think paying for car repairs and a jump in his insurance will certainly get the message across. I don't think the risk for injury is high enough at 15-20 mph for a fender bender to be off the table of options, when all other peaceable options have been tried. I admitted that lodging a complaint with the cop's superiors was probably a good idea.

MrS: Why should lying be required, that is certainly not part of MY plan.

From how I understand things, it does not matter in ANY way why a person suddenly slows down. If a person rear ends them they are deemed to have been, "Following too closely." Which makes the accident their fault.

edit:
Lyrhawn: That is very unfortunate. Did the woman suddenly veer into your lane and hit the brakes or was it a few seconds later? I hope I never find myself in THAT situation [Frown]

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El JT de Spang
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quote:
Originally posted by vonk:
So I guess my solution would be tapping the breaks. Not enough to get in an accident (unless the follower is being far too careless, in which case it's his fault) but enough to let him know that you know that he's there. And then continuing to tap your breaks until he either passes or you end up stopped. I guess it's a combo of the two solutions already proposed.

Not that I don't know plenty of drivers who do exactly what you suggest, but it's been specifically mentioned as a Bad Idea™ in each of the 3 defensive driving classes I've been in in the last 10 years. The only method I've heard the instructors advocate is just slowing down and letting the tailgater pass you.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Why should lying be required, that is certainly not part of MY plan.
Of course it is.

Cop - "Tell me what happened."

What's your answer?

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Lyrhawn
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quote:
Originally posted by BlackBlade:
edit:
Lyrhawn: That is very unfortunate. Did the woman suddenly veer into your lane and hit the brakes or was it a few seconds later? I hope I never find myself in THAT situation [Frown]

Sudden. I saw her brake lights when she came into my lane and I tapped on my brakes, figuring she was just slightly slowing, for whatever reason. But when I realized she was braking hard I slammed on my brakes as well, but at that point it was too late.

If I had known there was no one else around us, I probably could have veered into the next lane and avoided the whole debacle, but my attention was focused on the danger in front of me at the time, and in the maybe three or four seconds I had to react, I didn't consider taking the chance worthwhile.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
Why should lying be required, that is certainly not part of MY plan.
Of course it is.

Cop - "Tell me what happened."

What's your answer?

He was following me very closely no matter what I did he would not leave me alone. I was worried at the prospect of needing to stop in an emergency and having him hit me thus making and accident worse so I slowed my vehicle down quickly and he ran into my rear bumper.
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ElJay
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BlackBlade, your intent is to met out punishment yourself for the crime of tailgating. Basically, that's a mild form of vigilante justice. It's not your place, and it's not your right. And intentionally causing an accident, no matter what your motivation, probably falls under reckless driving and will end up with you being the one in trouble. Unless, as Squick says, you lie about what happened.

--

JH, I can't believe you can read what he's writing and say that with a straight face.

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MrSquicky
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"He's saying that your brake lights never came on. Do you have a fault with those lights?"

"How quickly did you slow down? What method did you use?"

It's going to come down, at some point, to them asking questions of teh sort about what, exactly you were doing at the time of the accident. If you admit to pulling your down-shifting trick with the intent of causing the accident, you will be charged with reckless driving and it is entirely possible that the other person will not have anything happen to them.

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Javert Hugo
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I am saying it with a straight face. I don't advocate that method, but I don't think it's any worse than half of the others suggestions in this thread and it looks like you're being selectively sarcastic and casting apersions on his character.
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vonk
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Yeah, I've heard of people that break checked a tailgater and when asked why she slowed down by the officer she admitted point blank why she slowed down. She was found to be at fault for intentionally causing an accident. That's why you answer that you were slowing down in the hopes of getting the other car to either back off or pass, not get in an accident.
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MrSquicky
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What other suggestions would those be, kat? I'm seeing set up a sting operation and gradually slow down and wait for them to pass, both of which seem reasonable to me.
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ElJay
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His method is the only one that's illegal. You don't think that's any worse? To me, the other suggestions aren't anywhere near the same league as his. I assure you, I'm not being selective at all, and I don't think I'm even being particularly sarcastic.
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Javert Hugo
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I think there are a lot of ways to register disagreement without being... so sneery about it. You didn't just disagree with his suggestion, you were sarcastic and questioned his "love for his fellow man" which is a loaded phrase. That's not usual for you - I don't think BB deserved it and I doubt you want it to become usual.
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BlackBlade
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Mr S: My brake lights work just fine. Even when I stopped he just waited behind me. So I shifted into a lower gear so that I could slow down without wearing out my brake pads some more hoping I could just stop and that he'd leave me alone. He, because he had been following me so closely for X minutes, rammed right into me as soon as I slowed down.

My driver's ed instructor said that even if I slam on the breaks just because I felt like slowing down and a driver rear ends me, it will end up being the other drivers fault.

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MrSquicky
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quote:
So I shifted into a lower gear so that I could slow down without wearing out my brake pads some more hoping I could just stop and that he'd leave me alone.
That's a lie.
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El JT de Spang
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And what's more, no cop is going to believe that you dropped your car into first gear while you were being tailgated so you could avoid wear on your brake pads.

You'd be better off slamming on your brakes and saying a dog ran out in front of your car. Still a lie, and a much more believable one.

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
So I shifted into a lower gear so that I could slow down without wearing out my brake pads some more hoping I could just stop and that he'd leave me alone.
That's a lie.
No it isn't. At this point I've already tried braking to a stop, and he has continued following me. I actually don't wish to wear out my brake pads; do you? I hoped that maybe this time when I slowed down he'd stop tailgating me.
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ElJay
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If you don't think this is my usual posting style, JH, then you haven't been paying attention.

And you can doubt whatever you want, but your post looks to me like a poor attempt to manipulate my behavior.

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MrSquicky
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Are you still doing the talking to the cop thing?

Because I (when I'm not playing the cop) know you are lying. You alreadly were very clear about why you would shift into first gear: to cause an accident.

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Javert Hugo
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I'm pointing out that I think you are particularly hard on BB, and you are hard on him using coded language designed for him. It isn't cool.
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ElJay
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Again, that is your opinion, and I disagree.
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Javert Hugo
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I think the second half of your original post was fine - warranted and necessary, because I don't agree with BB's scenario.

The first part was way too harsh, because of the coded language and the assumption of collectivism. Your other words were better.

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scholar
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I used to have a bad habit of engine breaking like every time I slowed down, so I could honestly say, I always engine break. My father in law gave me a hard time once because I didn't know how to engine break so I spent a few months perfecting the skill. [Smile] Of course, now that I feel confident in my ability to engine break, I almost never do it.
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BlackBlade
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Yes I am still doing the talking cop thing. Look I am even OK with saying, "I knew there was a good chance he might hit me, but I just could not safely drive any further, and I can't be expected to hold still while he holds me hostage with his vehicle.

I am not trying to cause an accident, HE is. I am slowing down abrubtly without giving him the courtesy of MY brake lights. There are no laws about slowing down with your engine instead of using your brakes (that I know of). And as I said before according to the drivers ed I took, I can slow down for just about any reason and if I am hit from behind, it's their fault.

Do you seriously think a cop would ticket me for "reckless driving" rather then giving the other driver a ticket for following too closely after I have, slowed, stopped, and changed routes?

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