Framing the Dialogue

The Two Second Rule

Update January 30, 2009:  I was driving my daughter to look at laptop computers this evening.  It is around 20 degrees here , the roads were slushy, and there were frequent periods of heavy snow fall.  As we traveled along an Interstate toll road, I had to get into the left lane to pass through single lane EZPass (I love EZPass).  Sure enough a car pulled within two car lengths of my rear.  Due to the weather, I was only traveling at 50 mph.  The unique thing about this fairly common occurrence was that the car tailgating me was a state police car.  As soon as we passed through the lane, I moved to the right lane and was quickly passed by the officer.  We noticed as he passed us that he was on his cell phone.  Remember my comments about the weather.  Sigh.

Do you know the two-second rule?  One of the larger car insurance companies has hired the famous, assassinated ex-president from the TV series 24.  He is standing near the road as the two-second rule is illustrated.  I love his deep voice as do many others, hence the recurring commercial roles and probably recurring large paychecks. 

What ever happened to the two-second rule?  It’s simple.  Leave two seconds between the rear of the car you are following and your front bumper.  It is a good rule-of-thumb regardless of how fast you are traveling.  I really have not safe, quantitative way of proving this, but if I cannot see your headlights in my rear view mirror, you are closer than two seconds.

One thing that I noticed the last few years is how often I am tailgated when I drive.  I am approaching 50 (years not mph) and probably drive slower than those pesky 30-somethings, but tailgating happens far too often.  My daughter’s driving instructor  suggested tapping the brake so the lights flash, but that often ticks people off.  They sometimes go from a distracted tailgater to a pissed off tailgater.  I usually just pull over and let them pass, but sometimes there isn’t room and I want some revenge. 

I’ve often fantasized about an invention that could be mounted on the back of my car.  It would be like a crossbow that would shoot a hollow tube like the police use to flatten the tires of cars being chased.  The tube would embed in the tailgaters radiator allowing their precious coolant/antifreeze to leak out.  After an hour or so their engine would begin to overheat.  I checked into the legality of such a device and much to my dismay, it would not be legal.

What’s a driver to do?

Then it came to me.  It was brilliant in its simplicity and would be cheap to do.  And best of all, there is already a system to manufacture it.  The answer is a vanity plate.  I can put a message on my vanity plate that should indicate that I might not be someone that you should tailgate.  I know what you are thinking; “Won’t they have to be close to read your plate?”  The beauty of license plates is that they are designed to be seen from a distance.  License plates are official and issued by government.  Not like the silly bumper stickers that you have to be too close to read. 

My quest was one to find the perfect plate, but there were bumps in the road.  It seems that the DMV has rules about what you can put on a plate.  That ruled out:


Too many letters and they frowned upon the DKHD part even though I explained that I was a fan of Donna Karon Harley Davidson.  Well how about:

Even I saw the flaw of the first four letters which I meant as “If You Can.”  So I thought of:

That would have worked, but I wanted some to instill some consequence or fear about what might happen if you are tailgating me.

What was I just released from?  Prison?  Psych ward? Jury duty?  That one was too ambiguous.

Kind of a Jeffrey Dalmer/cannibalistic theme.  It might make you think that I am unstable.  I didn’t ask the DMV folks about that one as I thought they’d think I was into some weird family stuff.  Plus using the word Mom is only slightly better than Mommy on the hierarchy of words to use to frighten people.  (There is a list.  Check Wikipedia).

They thought it was a reference to a Pilsbury baking contest and apparently Yosemete Sam already has this plate in my state. 

I think that I have the best answer.  Maybe if the jerk(s) behind me think I just don’t care any more, they will give me some space.

I have to see if it is available.

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