Want Peace On Earth? Stop Tailgaiting!

I am not writing a cliché retrospective on the year that was 2018.

I am not going to remind you how Virginia House Speaker Kirk Cox lost control of the GOP caucus and gave us the biggest government expansion in state history with Medicaid.

Nor am I going to call attention to how the Virginia State Senate, led by Majority Leader Tommy Norment, passed commonsense health care reforms, only to be vetoed by Gov. Ralph Northam.

No, I’m not going into a conversation how Del. Nick Freitas, R-30th District, dodged a political bullet by not being nominated for the U.S. Senate and how Prince William Supervisor Corey Stewart ended up getting exactly what he wanted – bringing finality to his political career and, honestly, taking one for the team in a non-winnable year for Republicans.

There’s no sense reflecting on how conservatives were able to celebrate new federal tax reforms and the appointment of a new conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice while the national debt screams past $21 trillion, the judiciary draws new state house lines, and high lies and fabrications seem to be ready to be prosecuted by the next Congress against the Trump administration.

And I’ve already written about the heroism of John McCain, the example set by George H.W. Bush, and how Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer is a living example of “The Reagan Way.”

I will leave the act of looking back for lessons learned to keener and more learned observers.

No, I have a different motivation for this column.

This might seem a bit non-sequitur – literary hairpin corner coming – but I really think a lot of problems can be solved with our commutes.

I think if you ask most people, they absolutely dread the prospect of turning the ignition key and proceeding down the pavement towards their place in the labor market.

Some people really just want to get from point a to point b. They understand that velocity = time x distance. They also understand that time = velocity divided by distance.

That last variation of the equation is extremely important because time really does not change by a significant amount when a person chooses to go five, 10 or more miles per hour above the speed limit for the brief second they desire to ride two feet or less from your rear bumper. (Most of the time, I’d invite said drivers into the rear passenger seats, where they’d probably be more comfortable and less stressed.)

It’s this aggressiveness in our society that we really need to address.

So often during this time of year we say “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men” and then eagerly step on the gas to let the person in front of us know that we’re there and we’d like to advance past them. How does this really help? Does it help? In a word: No.

The only thing that tailgating does is to prove that the driver in question is an ass. It will not get them anywhere faster, save for a couple of seconds. If anything, it is going to cause an accident that is going to grind Hampton Roads to a standstill on the main thoroughfare and spill over to all alternates.

All these great conversations about light rail, new tunnels, increased law enforcement, education spending (yes, I can make this argument), EZ Pass, and many more can all be solved if we just relax.

I know very well that I am whistling in the wind, but I know how aggravated people in this area get when it takes forever to go a relatively short distance. And, honestly, if people were a little less aggravated, how much more awesome would life be?

I know that the great readers of this column always drive with a cool, calm and conservative approach, so I know you don’t need this advice, but, if you do know someone with a bit of a hot head and a lead foot, tell them a few things from me: “Merry Christmas,” “Happy New Year” and “Slow down & Chill Out – Physics always wins!”

Let’s make 2019 better than 2018. Let’s relax and enjoy our commutes. We’ll get where we are going just about as fast – and I bet our public policy and politics improve because people we’ll be safer and less stressed!

OK…I can at least dream, right?


This column appears in The Princess Anne Independent News