North Texas Daily

Honk if you don’t love tailgating

Honk if you don’t love tailgating

March 18
20:56 2013

The next great automotive innovation is just around the corner.

Is it a self-driving car? No, those will never be popular, they’ll be too expensive and no one will trust them.

Is it the hydrogen fuel cell car? While I’m a huge fan, oil companies seem to be able to block anything that could threaten them.

No, the next thing that really ought to take off is a rear-mounted car horn.

Think about it. Tailgating is one of the most dangerous things a person can do on the road, and it happens all the time.

The scariest part for me at least is that it tends to happen because the person behind me isn’t paying attention.

And in a standard car, what can I do to get their attention, alert them of the danger they’re putting me in and kindly ask them to cut it out?

Drivers have two dedicated methods of getting each other’s attention: honking the horn and flashing the brights. Both of them are to get the attention of the car in front.

If the car I need to communicate with is behind me, only two options have proven effective for me. One is illegal: shooting the bird can get you pulled over because vulgarity isn’t protected by the First Amendment.

That’s bull-fecal matter, but it’s an argument that can’t be won on the side of the road.

The other, pumping the brakes so that the other car needs to slow down, only exacerbates the danger tailgating presents.

Further, if the driver is more aggressive than careless, both of these could serve to upset him more.

What I need—what we as a society need—is a horn that fires backwards. Or a set of brights that shine out of the tail lights. Or a built-in LED sign that puts on wild, colorful displays if a car is within a few inches. Or a giant cannon mounted on the trunk. Something, anything, as long as it’s pointed backwards.

There needs to be some way of telling another driver to back off without getting arrested or endangering oneself further.

What’s that? You’re concerned people would be honking at you all the time?

Well, do they do that with the front-mounted car horns they have now? Bully drivers seem common because they dominate thought processes when they’re present, but really most people are just trying to reach their destination.

Giving people more tools to be jerks with won’t turn more people into jerks.

This seems like an idea with a lot of pitfalls, but it really isn’t.

All I’m proposing is rearranging the tools cars already can’t pass inspections without, putting them where they’re really needed.

There isn’t much that could go wrong with this. Now, if only someone would build it.

Joshua Knopp is a pre-journalism sophomore. He can be reached at hillbutton@gmail.com.

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