Think before you tailgate

Think before you tailgate

by -

To the Editor:

So, after a long day driving up to Boston and back, I had my horrific driving experience here on the Island. I had my two kids ages one and three in the van. We made it up to Boston and back just fine, my first time in fact. Then, while coming back from Oak Bluffs, I got tailgated, bad, by a big truck. Instead of speeding up like he wanted, I continued going between 20 and 30 mph around the curves and onto the bridge we went.

Heading over the bridge, a truck swerves into our lane. I’m not talking nearly missing us, I’m talking if I was going any faster we would have had no choice but to go off the bridge to avoid being hit. The truck who had been tailgating us immediately stopped in shock, due to our near death experience. If I had paid attention to him, me and my two kids would have been dead. Please think before you tailgate. There could be kids or a dangerous situation, like mine, in front of you.

Lisa Nickowal

Vineyard Haven


  1. You could pull over and let the truck pass. It would be the generous, unselfish thing to do instead of being a rolling roadblock.

  2. I’m guessing this letter is a holdover given the winter ferry schedule into Oak Bluffs.

    But going from the bend in the road before the Lagoon (correct?) and up to the bridge, I would say vehicle speed between 20 and 30 mph is reasonable, prudent, and by no means selfish. As for a driver tailgating, they are distracting the driver in front from the road ahead of them and that is very dangerous.

    Which raises the questions, why does the driver behind need to go more than 30 mph and why is the driver in front the only one required to have manners? Why isn’t the driver behind expected to be generous and unselfish?

    1. The speed limit there is 35MPH. Some of us have better things to do than getting stuck behind a tourist (or not) out for a leisurely, scenic drive. I regularly pull over and let the other drivers overtake me when they are tailgating. Its no big deal, try it sometime, its less stressful, safer AND polite.

      1. There is a section of road there marked for passing. Most is not and the shoulders are not wide enough to pull over so another vehicle can pass SAFELY. Remember, the Vineyard is an island community, not a racetrack. Put your ego in check, slow down, and don’t put the lives of everyone else at risk.

  3. When someone tailgates you simply pull over and let them pass and avoid any chance of injury.

    1. You need a bumper sticker for your car: “I am the most important driver on the road.”

  4. This is amazing, people are actually advocating tailgating as a driving technique? Are you serious? It is unlawful to tailgate. Lisa and her kids could have been in a bad accident, while you, the tailgater, get to drive off. First of all, I believe the speed limit on the Lagoon bridge is 20 mph. Have you ever noticed? You must be in an awful big hurry to endanger a mother and two children like that. I
    most certainly will not drive one mile over the speed limit if you are
    behind me. You frighten and distract the driver you tailgate. I sure hope your aggressive driving gets you pulled over. It’s called road rage in my book.

    1. That’s okay, the people saying she should have pulled over are exactly why there’s a problem with tailgaters. Don’t tailgate, it’s one of the dumbest things to do as a driver, end of discussion.

  5. It’s time to read not only posted speed limits but the RMV Rules of the Road, ch. 4:

    “Road Respect/Sharing the Road

    A little courtesy will not kill you and it will go a long way towards increasing safety on our roads. We ask that you show respect to people you share the roadway with. Do not let your anger get the best of you when someone else drives irresponsibly.

    How Can You Identify Aggressive Drivers?
    Aggressive Drivers often do the following:
    • Cut people off
    • Exceed the speed limit
    • Switch lanes without signaling
    • Tailgate
    • Run red lights
    • Prevent other motorists from passing them

    What Can You Do When confronted by an Aggressive Driver?
    • Attempt to get out of his/her way.
    • Do not challenge that person.
    • Avoid eye contact.
    • Ignore rude gestures.
    • Wear your safety belt. It will keep you in control of your vehicle and protect you in a crash.
    Do not become an Aggressive Driver!
    Control your anger and do not let the situation get worse. Do not question how aggressive the other driver may be. If you have a cell phone, call the State Police at 911 to report dangerous drivers.
    State Police patrol highways in unmarked vehicles. They look for aggressive drivers who put everyone in danger. If you are arrested for aggressive driving, the Registrar may review your case. The Registrar can suspend your license and registration before a court date if you are a threat to public safety.

    Be a safe driver, be courteous, and always treat other drivers as you would like to be treated. As the driver of a passenger car, van, small truck, or motorcycle, you must constantly share the roadway with other people and other vehicles.”

  6. This actually had happened 2 weeks ago. We had gotten off the 615 very and I had to drop my passanger off in oak bluffs before heading back home to vh. He taigated us from debettencourts through the state police barracks and onto the bridge. It was a little past 7 so not too late or early the bridge posted speed limit is 20. I don’t see how we were in the wrong here. If I had let him passd it could have meant a nasty wreck on that bridge with two reckless drivers.