There was a car, maybe a Ford Taurus, tailgating me pretty tightly on the 2-lane road. I changed lanes to pass the slow-moving SUV in front of me.
The Taurus switched lanes too, and stayed tightly behind me: seemingly in a hurry, the Taurus driver probably judged me as the faster car and thus the best chance for them to get to their destination sooner.
I don’t like being tailgated. It’s a form of pressure a driver puts on other motorists to force them into speeding up or moving out of the tailgater’s way; automotive bullying.
I don’t see myself as the type of person a tailgater would do that to outside of a vehicle (since you usually can’t see who’s doing the driving when cars are right behind each other).
I’ve developed a subtle-but-effective way to deal with tailgaters that both gets them off my tail and serves my male ego: I take my foot off the gas and let my vehicle cruise.
Not touching the brake pedal at all, the lack of gas makes my car decelerate of course, but so slowly — and without the brake lights coming on — that a tailgater can’t even be mad about it. But the steadily-slowing pace usually entices the tailgater to get from behind me and switch lanes.
That’s exactly what happened in this case. The tailgater jerked over to the other lane, now behind the slow SUV.
Free of the tailgater, I now pressed the gas pedal and increased my speed, leaving the SUV (male driven) and my tailgater in the rear mirror (ladies: this is the kind of ego-fueled stuff that men do on the road).
The tailgater was in peril now: behind an even slower vehicle, and pinned in their lane as there were other cars behind me that prevented another hasty lane change for the tailgater.
I kept track of the SUV in my side mirror and noticed, even without seeing its lights, that the SUV had come to an abrupt slow-down: not quite a stop, but slow enough that I could tell even from far away.
I’m 97% sure the SUV driver was using another, more dangerous male ego technique for dealing with tailgaters, the technique that causes & inflames road rage (as well as car accidents).
Within a second or two, the tailgater — now in 3rd place in this 3-car scenario — jerked into the now-available right lane alongside the SUV. Being a tailgating driver, the Taurus sped ahead of the SUV quickly, albeit in separate lanes.
I expected the Taurus to catch up to me soon, but the Taurus driver had another task to complete first.
The Taurus switched lanes again, getting in front of the SUV, and returned the SUV’s favor by performing the dramatic slow-down technique back on them.
I watched this all unfold over the course of 10 seconds through my rearview mirrors and gave Anna, in the passenger seat and unaware of any of this, a quick play-by-play of the action.
Anna: “That’s exactly how people fall behind in life.”
What you should take from this story: competing with and trying to one-up everyone feels good in the moment — but it leaves you in competition with people that you should have left in your rear view a long time ago.
What that means for you: you can only compete by looking at what other people are doing and trying to best it. If you instead focus on besting yourself, those would-be competitors may never even get on your radar: you’re too far ahead of them.
The next thing you should do, knowing this: get on the list for when we open registration for Bulletproof Mindset 2.0 — my flagship and most in-depth course.
Join here free: http://WorkOnMyGame.com/Bulletproof