What's Behind Me?

mirror view of what is behind the driverWhat's behind me and why should I care? I'm driving down the highway and I'm certainly not going to back into something! There are at least two common hazards that occur regularly behind every driver and looking out for them is just good sense.

Following Too Closely

The first hazard is the impatient driver that follows you too closely. Identify this hazard and you can avoid it by either slowing down or even pulling over and stopping.

If you choose to slow down, you increase your own following distance and allow even more time to react if something happens. In a sense, you are thinking ahead for the dummy behind.

Being Overtaken Rapidly

The second hazard is the vehicle that is rapidly overtaking you.

Anticipating a foolish passing move, postponing a left turn even though your signal light is flashing or deciding that this is not the time to stop suddenly could be very important to you!

How Often Do I Check What is Behind Me?

For these reasons and more, it is wise to know what is around you when you drive. Scanning your mirrors briefly every 5 to 10 seconds will help you keep that big picture fresh and give you the time you need to decide how to avoid trouble.

Situational Awareness

Situational awareness is recognizing where you are, where you are supposed to be, and whether anyone or anything around you is a threat to your safety. You must know what is behind you and you should care what others are doing back there!

Backup Cameras

Remember that backup cameras are an aid and they do not replace looking in the mirror and doing a 360 degree scan. All three methods must be used to insure complete driver awareness.

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I must most strenuously disagree with the suggestion that someone being tail
gated "slow down" Chances are that the reason they find themselves in this
situation is that they are already going too slow. A better recommendation
would be "if you are not traveling at the posted speed limit either speed up
or signal and move right/pull over"

A significant amount of road rage would be eliminated if the slow driver was
encouraged to move over. The old road sign of many years ago still stands as
good advice

"The courteous driver if going slow would pull to the right to let fast
traffic go!"

I certainly would agree with you if that driver were in the left lane of a multi-laned highway.

However, I very often find myself in the right lane on a multi-laned highway or on a two laned highway, doing the speed limit and finding someone 3 meters off my back bumper impatiently waiting for an opportunity to pass me. In this situation I still think that my advice is valid.