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Driving: Mind the Mother

I-95, tailgaiting, and the revenge of this cell phone-wielding mother.

Interstate 95 is scary, no matter if you’re in Miami, Fla., or Bangor, Maine. I live in northeast Florida, and most drivers along my stretch of highway seem to think that 95 is the speed limit. While the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, I prefer to drive the urban back roads and side streets, even though they’re pocked with potholes. At least I don’t have to worry about another vehicle running me over merely to get a nanosecond ahead of me. Traveling I-95 is always a crapshoot that leaves me wondering whether the gods will rule in my favor.

One day, I saw what I fear the most. My 16-year-old was driving ahead of me and entering a virtually empty freeway. As the merge lane ran out, her car moved into the left lane, in front of a Chevy truck traveling at breakneck speed. Granted, she should have signaled, but that’s what kids do—they expect everyone else on the highway to be nice enough to move into one of the other three lanes. But the driver of the Chevy didn’t back off. Instead, he barreled down on her and rode her bumper for at least a mile. When he finally moved into the passing lane, he pulled up even with her and veered toward the right, pushing her onto the shoulder. Luckily, on this Sunday no one else was on the road.

No one, that is, except me.

I was about 100 yards behind and witnessed the entire incident. When it became apparent the Chevy driver wanted to bully my daughter, I punched my accelerator until I caught up. Approaching on his left, I honked my horn and waved my cellphone at him, motioning to his license plate to let him know I was calling in his tag. So, bullies, take warning! Be careful who you harass on the road. Someone’s mother might be behind you.

The AARP Bulletin’s "What I Really Know" column comes from our readers. Each month we solicit short personal essays on a selected topic and post some of our favorites in print and online. Margo M. Frazier is a reader from Jacksonville, Fla.

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