Wife is scared to death of husband’s dangerous driving habit


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
My husband is a terrible driver. He tailgates so close that I am always nervous. He says he’s comfortable driving close and gets perturbed when I tell him to back away. I especially get nervous when he’s close to a big truck. He has joked that he’s “drafting” off it to get better gas mileage. I don’t laugh and tell him he’s putting us in serious danger, but he either doesn’t respond or gets mad.

I know how to drive our motorhome but he will hardly ever let me do it. I love my husband, he’s a wonderful man, but I’m scared to death to ride with him. Do you have any idea what I might say to him to get him to back off? —Susan

Dear Susan:
If you are convinced your husband’s driving is putting you at serious risk, don’t get in the passenger seat. Either drive or refuse to ride. The drafting joke is funny to a point. If he wants to be a NASCAR driver, have him get a sponsor and drive alone at the track. If he wants to save gas have him get his foot out of the carburetor and back off. Tailgating will only assure that you are the first one to the accident.

I just read a blog I have followed for two years about a couple RVing full-time. I was shocked to see a photo of their truck and trailer upside down in the median on an interstate. A trailer in front of them spewed metal wheel parts that they could not avoid. It blew their right rear tire and somehow set their trailer brake. The trailer tipped over first, eventually flipping the truck on its side. It then skidded across the median and ended up facing the opposite direction upside down.

It is not just a sudden stop that can get you into trouble when tailgating. Most RVs do not stop on a dime, are not quick to maneuver, and are not designed to do either. Your husband is putting more people in danger than just his wife and himself – not to mention the fact that it is illegal. I think he needs an attitude adjustment and I think you should be the one to administer it. Good luck. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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I live by the “one car length for every 10 mph” rule. Make that “one RV length for every 10 mph” and now you are safe. Realistically, especially in highly-aggressive drivers states (TX!) 20 ft per 10 mph is safe. Back off, make sure you can stop if a driver slams on the breaks, and if hubby doesn’t cool it, get out and refuse to be in the rig. Be safe.
Yes, I’m serious, too. Don’t mess around.


Jeff, actually, in MY opinion, there’s a much more needed course called ‘COMMON SENSE” …which looks like to me more and more people have less and less of everyday! I retired from 38 years OTR in February 2015, and, I must admit, I’m a whole lot happier in doing so! I may not be making $60k+ anymore, but, at least my life isn’t endangered by ‘super truckers’ and regular idiots anymore! Have a Blessed day!

Roy Ellithorpe

I notice that everyone refers to “accidents”.
Where I come from no one (especially the media) uses that word when referring to vehicle crashes.
Accidents are something that is not preventable, vehicle crashes are pretty much always preventable.

Kenneth Fuller

AAA offers a good Driver Improvement (Defensive Driving Course) that I would recommend taking. I would try to do the “live classroom’ vs. on-line. They have good recommendations on following distance.

Elaine Schuster

I agree with those who recommend you put your foot down Do not get in the passenger seat until he agrees to back off. If he reneges, get out at the next opportunity and stay out. Take a bus home if you must. He needs to know you are serious.

Richard Warnke

There’s another factor that hasn’t been mentioned: The person who tailgates is endangering the vehicle, physical safety and even the life of the person(s) in front of him/her. This is a rude and dangerous practice.

We regularly winter in the Phoenix, Arizona area. Sadly, every year we see the results of many “accidents.” From what we’ve observed, most of them have been prevented if drivers did not tailgate. (Friends of ours were victims of a tailgating driver cruising illegally in the HOV lane.)

(Of course, I don’t mean to imply that Arizona is the only state with tailgating drivers. My home state of Wisconsin also has plenty.)

It’s far better to leave 100 yards too much between yourself and the vehicle in front you that to leave one inch too little.


As a Long Haul Truck Driver, this is a serious condition and I see it on the Road everyday. People driving too fast for conditions, towing Travel Trailers and 5th wheels way too fast. The Speed Limit might be posted at 70 mph (for example), but that doesn’t mean you should be driving that fast when towing!

I have always advocated that there should be a Driving Course required for anyone wanting to Tow anything. Basic driving skills don’t cut it when you ad a Trailer to the back of your car or truck. Everything changes. Especially Stopping Distance.

For this lady, simply put, don’t get in the car with him. Stay home, until he gets the hint!

Phil Atterbery

I concur with Darrel. If refusing to go doesn’t work, drop a dime on him. Also, show him the life insurance policy you plan to buy. Lastly, find an RV salvage yard and do a little “scared straight” education.


He sounds like an aggressive driver to me.
Hopefully he will get the opportunity to explain his driving habits to a judge before he kills someone.
Tailgating still ranks up there with the biggest cause of motor vehicle accidents.


Sadly, your hubby thinks very little of his own life and obviously even less of yours since he has made his thoughts known. Worst of all, he has NO regard for anyone else’s life on the road that he may be responsible for ending.

Vehicular manslaughter is no joke !! I’m a retired professional trucker with over 2 million accident free miles logged.


Call 911 while he is tailgating and report a dangerous driver. That should get his attention

And yes I am serious.