Just what is it about people who feel they need to pull right up to the back bumper of your car while you’re both traveling down the highway at over 70 mph? Do they think they’re going to push you off the road? More likely than not, it’s just the intimidation factor. Or maybe they’re just in such a hurry that the millisecond of time they may save by getting a few feet closer to their destination will save them from being late to work.
Whatever the reason, mark my words, there are very few things that annoy me more while driving than when the dreaded pick-up truck gets right on my tail trying to ‘encourage’ me to get out of their lane so they can move past. A part of me just wants to tap the breaks (and I have a few times) but that could cause an accident that I don’t want to be responsible for. The other part of me wants to roll down the window and wave them the universal peace sign (two fingers of course).
This week has been a travel week for me, and part of that travel was the drive to and from the airport (not to mention all the driving visiting customers). While driving to the airport at five in the morning, I was amazed by the number of people who like to practice tailgating to get a step ahead on the highway before rush hour hits. Their lack of concern for others was almost breathtaking to observe. Nothing else mattered to them than their own agenda to get where they wanted to be. Speed limits and turn signals were nowhere to be seen. It truly was also a good lesson in life.
In life, we all know someone who pushes so hard to get ahead that they figuratively tailgate others hoping to drive them out of their way on their road to success. Their self-absorbed lifestyle is consumed with narcissistic thoughts of how life owes them a favor while they remain blind to the damage they may be causing to those around them. Throwing safety and caution to the wind, they are ‘Pedal to the Medal’ not looking back to even say they’re sorry.
There’s a reason we’re supposed to keep several car lengths between us on the highway; it’s pure physics around what’s called ‘Stopping distance’. Trust me, there are many websites dedicated to the mathematics around stopping distance that would bore you, but suffice to say, they speak to life itself as well. Just how do we apply it then?
Throughout our life, if we’re always in a hurry to get to the next point or goal, we’ll miss out on many things. We may push others away missing out on valuable relationships and memories. We may hurt others causing them to feel taken advantage of, or used, just to help us get ahead. Whether it’s someone close or a stranger we may never even know about, rushing through life can cause collateral damage to others because we’re too busy focusing on our own path.
The key to keep from tailgating is to slow down and leave some distance between ourselves and the next stop ahead. If someone seems to be slowing us down, there may be a reason we’re not even aware of. That person may just be the person who helps us get around some other obstacle we can’t yet see ahead. They may be there to prevent us from being hurt by dangers in the road or from hurting others by our own recklessness. Or, maybe God put them there just to teach us a little patience and trust.
Rest assured, the future will take care of itself. Whether we get to the next stop sooner than later is nowhere near as important as how we get there in the first place. Breaking every rule to get there only a few moments sooner could cause regret we don’t want to live with. Being a little late and getting there safely is much better than not getting there at all. If that’s you and the thought of slowing down may be a tough pill to swallow, if you can see the benefit in following the path you’re on with patience, it will make the journey much less stressful. And, you may just find you don’t want to get to the next point as soon as you once thought you did…