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You can’t be intimidated if…


A co-worker was complaining that a large truck tried to ram her today. She was in the right lane, and the truck was merging onto the highway. “The driver looked down at me and came right over at me,” she said. “I had to floor it to get out of the way.”

“He had a legal obligation to yield to you, but he made you yield instead. That’s because you violated the first rule of driving in an urban area,” I said. “Never make eye contact.”

“What do you mean?” she asked.

“If you make eye contact, an aggressive driver will think he can intimidate you. You looked at the truck driver, he looked at you, and he knew that you knew he was there. He knew that you would avoid him if he moved into your space.”

“So what should I have done? Ignored him?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said. “If you don’t make eye contact, the aggressive driver can’t be sure that you know that he’s there. Therefore if he moves into your space, he can’t be sure you will avoid him, and he may cause an accident. He doesn’t want to damage his own vehicle, he just wants you to move out of his way. If you don’t look at him, he doesn’t think you know he’s there, and therefore he knows you will not move, and therefore he cannot intimidate you into moving,” I said. “By making eye contact, you acknowledged awareness of him, and therefore you ceded your authority to hold your place, and he took it. You can’t be intimidated if you don’t make eye contact.”

“That sounds very aggressive,” she said. “How many accidents have you had?”

“None,” I said. “Ignoring other drivers makes them behave more reasonably toward you because they know you won’t yield to them. Driving a large, beat-up vehicle also helps ensure that they behave reasonably toward you, because they know you don’t care if your vehicle gets hit. You should know this by now, living in an urban area.”

She disagrees. Therefore she will keep being intimidated by other drivers. That’s why I won’t ride with her.

One Comment
  1. 2013-06-29T19:05:47-04:00 19:05

    Oh, I totally agree! I never make eye contact.


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