Slating awards for less than deserving drivers - Jeffery Whitfield

Nothing creeps up faster than headlights bearing down upon the rear bumper of your car in the nighttime air.

Last week as I drove home from work, I was nearly blinded by a motorist behind me who shined their highbeams like a beacon from a lighthouse tower at the back of my car.

The bright, glaring lights don't come from a tractor-trailer, a soccer mom's minivan or even a police car.

But there those headlights were, a foreboding sign from a 1980s Ford Mustang that any vehicle could plow into your car in rush hour traffic or even the next red light.

There's nothing worse than a tailgater - especially those that use their lights as an added bonus. I just don't get it. When in the driver's education manual did it say: Want to get somebody to move? Just ride ‘em a little and they'll get out of the way.

Maybe it's just cynicism. After all, why is it that once you get around the Grady curve on the downtown connector (or Interstate 75) does it seem that people who want to drive 45 miles-per-hour jump into the left lanes?

While driving behind people who likely shouldn't be on I-75 can be frustrating, it's worse yet to try and nudge them over.

So I am proposing a solution: tailgater awards, for those who want to grace their mantle with trophies in addition to traffic citations. Third-place tailgaters, or those less than 30 feet from your vehicle, would receive a plastic grill for the front of their car - to replace the existing one covered with soot from your vehicle.

Second-place winners, or those less than 20 feet from your car or truck, could get inflatable crash-test dummies for their passenger seats. After all, give the driver someone that can't scream when the brakes are routinely slammed on. And the grand-prize winner, the driver who must ride as close to your rear bumper as possible, gets nothing. Maybe a traffic citation or a suspended license should be enough.

And finally - on a completely unrelated matter - I would like to thank a Stockbridge reader for pointing out that Robby Thompson hit “the shot heard round the world,” or the winning homer that catapulted the New York Giants to the World Series, in 1951. I wrote in my column about baseball last week that Thompson hit the home run in 1950.

(Jeff Whitfield covers schools for the News Daily. He can be reached at jwhitfield@news-daily.com or by phone at (770) 478-5753 Ext. 247)