I turned right after the red light turned green behind a line of cars. All of the cars ahead of me were traveling at or just below the speed limit and were keeping safe distances between each other. The road is two lanes with several areas containing orange construction barrels (the county is currently widening the bridges over the lake and will eventually widen the lanes), 55 mph speed limit, and is known for deer crossing. It has become a main thoroughfare, a stretch of 36 miles, and sometimes 18 wheelers use it as a crossover to avoid big city traffic congestion so safe driving requires full attention.
As I glanced in my rear-view mirror I noticed this guy in a white pick up truck gradually pull up behind me and stayed on my tail for a good eight miles. I could barely see his headlights he was following me so closely.
As we traveled down the road I kept glancing in my rear-view mirror at him which caused me to begin to neglect my duties of being a responsible driver. I began to feel stressed and agitated so my hands would grip the steering wheel tighter. I kept imagining him running into the back of my car if I had to stop suddenly.
I decided to try to tune him out and keep my focus on the road ahead and off of my discomfort of having him follow me so closely. Even though I could not help but glance back another time or two, I did begin feel more relaxed and in better control of the situation. As soon as we all merged onto the freeway entrance ramp he zoomed past all of us and quickly became someone else’s problem.
This whole incident made me consider the way I am prone to think when I have something troubling on my mind. I tend to keep looking in my “rear view mirror” at the things I cannot really change or control. I let the stress and concern get to me and it causes me to tighten my grip ~ similar to how I felt with my morning tail-gating experience.
Glancing in my rearview mirror is all part of being a good driver, but if it is done too much or too often, sooner or later there is going to be an accident. I need to shift my focus to the windshield and keep my mind on my destination instead of what is behind me.
Keep your focus in the direction of your destination and only glance at the past as necessary to stay aware of where you have been. – Pearl Zhu
*Side note: There is not much traffic on this particular road so I was able to stop to take this photo.
Personal Reflection: Do I look at my rear view mirror too often?