Ask a Trooper: Aggressive driving is a form of bullyingE-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose.
Q: Are speeding and tailgating forms of bullying? Consider the advice to go with the flow of traffic. If the speed limit is 55 mph and some want to go 60 mph, is the person driving 55 mph holding up traffic or is the person driving 60 mph pushing traffic? If a person who wants to drive 55 mph gives in and drives 60 mph, is that person in turn also pushing traffic?
Consider the highway signs “Slower traffic keep right.” Is the person driving at 70 mph and passing somebody going 68 mph slowing traffic? Should the driver going 70 mph speed up to get out of the way of somebody who wants to drive 75 mph?
One form of bullying is to force someone to do something wrong.
A: Yes, speeding and tailgating are forms of bullying. Specifically, that type of bullying is aggressive driving and it is dangerous. No one should drive over the posted limit, especially because they think “everyone else is doing it.” Speeding kills, and more speed kills more. For every 10 mph you drive over 50 mph, your risk of death in a crash doubles. I have never been a fan of the advice of “go with the flow,” but there are times it is necessary, like getting onto a freeway from an on-ramp where you have to match your speed to the flow just to get into traffic. Some drivers don’t want to go “faster” and should not be forced to do so when just driving down the road.
As drivers, we have no control over other drivers, their vehicles or any other conditions. We can only control our own vehicle, and how we respond to all of the existing conditions. Any driver speeding over the limit or too fast for conditions is probably “pushing traffic,” and it is aggressive and this has to stop. Drivers should never have to “speed up” just to “get out of someone’s way.”
In Minnesota, slower traffic has to keep to the right when on multi-lane roads, it’s the law. If someone is in the left lane of a four-lane highway and they are driving the speed limit and a faster vehicle comes up from behind, they should move over and let the faster vehicle by. We don’t want people driving (hanging out in) the left lane (fast lane). Keep that lane open as much as practicable or possible. We all need to work together to have a safe environment on our roadways, and we do that by taking responsibility for our own actions behind the wheel and stop worrying about all the other drivers. Working together is the key.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.