My Report 3
Tailgating Behavior
To Gate or Not To Gate, That Is The Question?

By: Dustin Telles

Table of Contents

Instructions for Report
Tailgating Behaviors
Reinforcing Tailgating Behaviors
Sucking in Effect
Alternatives to Tailgating
Moral Implications to Tailgating
My Own Behavior
Future Generations
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Lets see, what is tailgating.  Tailgating has been defined by Dr. James as an act of following too close with the intention to coerce or punish another driver when you think you've been wronged.  To me it is some person who simply follows so close that it makes you feel like slamming on your brakes to let them know that they are bothering you.
As we all know, any behavior can be broken down into three domains, affective, cognitive and sensorimotor.  With this in mind I will look at self witnessing reports from previous generations, my own observations and state my personal opinion on how I feel about the things that I am discussing.

Tailgating Behaviors

Reinforcing Tailgating Behavior
While going over past generation reports I came across the report done by Denise Tanaka. In her report she admits to being a tailgator. She says that she believes that people tailgate because the rewards outweigh the  punishment. She says that although many tailgaters come close, the majority of them do not get into accidents. Denise feels successful when she makes the driver feel uncomfortable. By doing this and getting away with it this becomes a big reinforcer for her. Denise acknowledges the fact that tailgating violates the rights of others and says in the future she will try relax and not let things bother her as much.
I believe what Denise says.  I believe that when you tailgate you feel good if you can get the driver to feel uncomfortable or even force them to change lanes to get out of your way.  I know this because I have tailgated people and I too enjoy that feeling.  Plus, it is an added bonus when you get away with it.  I do agree though that it does violate other drivers and if you have ever been tailgated then you know how it feels
Sucking In Effect
Aaron Takahashi makes a very interesting point in his report about tailgating behaviors.  he said that one day while driving home he was tailgating the car in front of him not to force his will upon that car but to prevent other cars from cutting in front of him as to get ahead of traffic.  We all have been there when people try to cut in front of at the last minute to get ahead of the line of traffic.  It happens a lot at on ramps for the freeways as well.  This is what Kathy Teruya called sucking in effect.
After looking at this carefully I have decided that something must be done about this.  There must be a way to stop these people from forcing me to tailgate the person in front of me.  Well, I have decided that I can't change the way that other people drive so I will change the way that I drive.  The way that I will do this is to do a driving personality makeover on myself.  The added bonus is that I can now do a report on that as well
What other occasions cause people to tailgate? Well, in Nancee Aki's self witnessing report she found herself tailgating others on three occasions. The first instance would be if she were late, the second if someone cut her off or looked at her the wrong way, the last reason would be if she were daydreaming.  Under the first two circumstances Nancee admits that she tailgates them on purpose to try and push them to go faster than they are going.  She says that when she does this it usually works and she gets a feeling of control back.  However, Nancee learned the hard way when one day she rear ended someone.  Fortunately no one was hurt and she said that she has learned her lesson.
I feel that it is sad for something like this to go than extreme of getting into an accident before people learn that tailgating is not a good thing.  First of all it increases the risks for you to get into an accident and it also increases the chance of that accident being more serious because of the force of the impact.  Although I am glad that she learned her lesson I hope that other people will learn from her mistakes so that they can avoid these situations that in my opinion can be avoided.

Alternatives To Tailgating

Although the reports that I have discussed so far say that tailgating is good, there are reports that are against tailgating.  Take Jae Isa for instance. He feels that tailgating is wrong and is an invasion of your personal space which is disrespectful of the driver. Jae believes that tailgating is an act of aggression that has malicious intent to hurt another driver. He believes that there is no reason good enough to put another's life in danger. Jae apparently feels a great deal of anger towards tailgaters. He thinks that tailgaters are a nuisance to society which leads towards his hostile attitude towards their behavior.
I tend to agree with some of the things that Jae has to say but I have to say that by him getting angry he is not helping the problem.  What he is doing is contributing to road rage which in my opinion is worse than tailgating.  Although he makes good points it is taken with a grain of salt because of the tone of his paper.  In my opinion less anger would have gotten his point across better.
There is another report that I found by Aaron Reisner who feels that the best approach is to simply allow the tailgaters to pass. He feels that the majority of the people who tailgate do it because they are in a rush and inconsiderate.  Aaron says that it's all about safety. What's the point? Why make them mad? The more upset they get the more reckless they will become. Is it worth the accident? No, it's not.  Aaron has a point. Instead of getting mad at the tailgater and risk getting into a accident, he says that you should think of some ulterior motive that they have for tailgating and hopefully this will help you to calm yourself down when being tailgated.  Also, go and look at his top ten list.
I think what Aaron said is probably the best way to deal with the problem.  Letting them pass will not only get you out of the situation but it will also help you to clear your mind and focus on the road in front of instead of what is happening behind you.  I like his report because he doesn't come out with anger, instead he states his points in as calm a way as possible so I think that his report will be taken seriously.

Moral Implications To Tailgating

The question still remains, is it morally right to tailgate someone else.  In my opinion I would have to say that it is immoral to tailgate someone because you are forcing something on to them that is unwanted and unasked for.  Therefor you must classify it as immoral.  Although there are going to be a lot of people who disagree with me on this saying that it is immoral for me to place my beliefs on to them like I am trying to do right now.  But the question still remain.  You will have people saying that it is immoral for people to impede the flow of traffic, or to turn without making their blinkers and so on and so forth.  The best advice that I can give is for people to decide for themselves.  I mean everyone has been tailgated and everyone has tailgated so you need to decide for yourself if it is the moral thing to do for yourself.  Remember to always be considerate of others though if you do decide to tailgate and remember what happened to Miss Aki because it just may happen to you.

My Own Behavior

So far I have told you a lot of how others feel about tailgating.  Now it is time for me to tell you how I feel.  I personally feel that tailgating for the reason of irritating the other driver should be a crime.  After all you are doing it to give yourself a power trip and it might end up hurting the person in front of you.  I also feel that people who tailgate need to receive some help on their problem.  And I say problem because this is a problem.  The reason that I say this is because most of the time they don't realize what they are doing until its too late and by then there are no apologies.  Also people who do this for these reasons appear to me to have a lack of self esteem that they must somehow get it back while driving with the so called protection factor of their car.
However, I am not all against tailgating.  I feel that there is a time and place for it.  For example, what Mr. Takahashi wrote about to me was a good time to tailgate.  I do it and I feel that it is for the good of the driver in front of me as well as for myself and the people behind me.  The reason that I feel this is because I am keeping the line intact and in control.  I feel that by letting these cars in you are losing control of the situation because lets face it, you don't want to let them in its just that you feel that they are going to bang you if you don't  I guess that you can say that I am a hypocrite for not taking a side, but hey, aren't you one too?


In conclusion I would have to say that tailgating is all right if it is done in the right situation under the right conditions, although I don't know what they are exactly I will say that I leave ti up to you to decide.  I have given my research as well as the research of others in hope that you will further this study some more.  I will say this though, for those of you who gate just for the sake of gating, look around you at what is going on fro a change.  Stop thinking about yourself and for once think about the rights of others.  Then and only then will we discover the true meaning of tailgating.

Future Generations

For you future generations that may be reading this I have one thing to say, don't use this as a reference.  My report is not written up to my standards for use as a reference.  I do recommend that you do a driving personality makeover if you tailgate.  The reason I say this is because it will not only make you feel better but it will make the people around you feel better.  By the way, instead of tailgating try driving in the right hand lane, its a totally different perspective over there.
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