When you're bebopping down the interstate, barely at or over the speed limit and you see a cop in the middle, what do you do? Most people hit the brakes like "oh, lawd, I'm going to prison! I'm doing 60 in a 60; I'd better slow down!!"
Newsflash, folks, when you see that cop it's already too late. Next time you see a cop car watching traffic, look around at the big trucks. See brake lights? Nope. Why is that, ya think? Several reasons.
Let's look at this logically. When you hit those brakes several things happen. One, the nose of your car dips. So there's a visual indicator for ya. When you brake in a panic it makes us have to panic a little. You don't want that. Especially not if we big trucks are moving as a herd. We travel that way a lot. "Safety in numbers", ya know.
Imagine a zebra running in the middle of a herd of elephants. Everyone's running at the same pace with the zebra in the middle. Suddenly the zebra wants to stop. What do ya think happens to that critter? It becomes pudding. You don't wanna be pudding, do ya?
Now, if you're cruising along and see a cop behind you it's still too late when you see him. Especially if he's just a few car lengths away. Which seems to be the distance at which your blinders come off. You hit the brakes again like "no no, officer, I've been doing 5 below the speed limit the whole time." Yeah, right. Hey, guess what! You know how you can tell someone in front of you suddenly slowed down because of their brake lights? So can that poeleaseman. You know your car has those things too, right? You may not have turn signals (I think most cars don't have turn signals anymore) but you've definitely got brake lights.
So, I ask you, is it necessary to single handedly mess up the flow of traffic because you overreact? Watch the trucks and you'll see that while you're busy convincing everyone you're not Mario Andretti we will just change lanes and pass that same traffic cop. No brake lights, no panic, just business as usual.
As self absorbed as most drivers are, they don't notice the problems they cause by being panicky like that.
Like last week, I saw a car in the hammer lane (That's "the far left lane" for the regular folk) practically stand on his brake pedal because there was a cop car in the median facing traffic. This caused a whole line of cars behind him to panic and brake real hard. The car two cars behind him had to swerve. Typically this is a good evasive maneuver. Except when you swerve into an occupied lane. This caused THAT car to careen into the far right lane (we call that the granny lane. Whoever came up with that clearly never saw some of these grannies drive) where he collided with a minivan.
One idiot's overreaction caused an accident behind him. Nearly a 4 car collision. Did he seem remorseful? Who knows, he sped off. I'm guessing he was as oblivious to what happened behind him as he was to the fact that that cop car was unoccupied.
Unfortunately, none of the cars involved were able to check their mirrors, I'd wager, since it happened so quickly. However, I've seen many accidents that likely could've been avoided had someone checked mirrors. Now, I'm about to say something here that may come as a complete surprise to some people. Ladies, and some of those "Caitlin Jenner" type guys, that thing you use to apply make up while driving...it is actually intended for looking for other vehicles. Guys that shave while driving, same thing goes for you. It's a unisex mirror.
Now, for you folks that are panic braking when you see a cop because you are trying to set a land speed record with Scotty's voice playing in your head "she's givin it all she's got, Captain. We need more dilithium crystals!"...odds are you're way in front of the pack you just weaved your way through. Going so fast the wind is whipping through your hair while your windows are up. You guys? You've got it coming. Same rule applies though; when you see him it's too late. But why are you in such a hurry anyway? Seriously. If you need to go so fast and loose on the highway then you should've left sooner to get where you're going. It's a car, not an F-16. When we see you guys on the shoulder of the road later with that blue and red disco ball, we laugh. We point, we sometimes honk a "hello" and "thanks for finding him for us. He's gonna be busy throwing tickets at you for a while so I'll just mash motor on down the highway."
It's a simple concept, folks. I've harped on it before and I'm sure I'll hop up on that soapbox many times like I'm at a presidential debate. Drive with some common sense. Your choices can have far-reaching consequences. Maybe not always for you but for someone. You'd hate the NASCAR qualifier on the highway, the idiot that locked them up and caused a pileup as he drove off, or that moron that couldn't be bothered to look in the mirrors if any of them caused your loved ones bodily harm through their irresponsible driving. Wouldn't you? As would I. So don't be "that guy". I drive like every vehicle within sight has my kids in it and act accordingly. Give it a try. And spread the message. Maybe, in time, everyone can adopt that way of thinking and there'd be less accidents. I know I'd like lower insurance rates.