Tapping on a Car to Communicate to the Driver
I am curious to know what everyone thinks of tapping on a car to communicate to the driver. Note: this includes any contact one makes with the car aside from an accident, so kicking, punching, elbowing, tapping, knocking, etc. are all included. Even the scene from that movie (Premium Rush) where the lady wields a chain to lash out at taxis, albeit an extreme case.
I was intrigued about this subject after reading this story from the Missed Connection thread:
I do not tap on cars for any reason whatsoever because I can see it pissing off the driver, but can see the benefit if like in the video above one is about to be hit by the car. I also see tapping to signify to the driver that they just did something stupid, not always in road rage but definitely in a scolding sort of way. I personally just yell a loud and short "Hey!", but in some cases I would really need a horn to get through to the driver.
Originally Posted by dcv
Another angle on this is the legality of purposely making contact with another vehicle on the road. Is it considered road rage and thus the police would pull you over? Just think of the implications if there are passengers (especially kids) in the car, as it could be seen as an attack on the vehicle.
I'm interested to learn what everyone thinks.
"Do not touch my private property!" Overreact much? I do that regularly. Knocking on the side of a car is akin to knocking on the front door of a house and it's done for the same reason, to let people inside know I'm there. If you're cutting me off, I assume you didn't see me. Generally the knock is appreciated. Drivers who get irate over a knock on the door or rear side panel are kooks looking for an excuse to get angry.
I have zero compunction about giving cars a smack if they're doing something that endangers me. There are a few mercedes driving around Great Falls with dents in their passenger doors from my foot.
I like to yell first. A very loud "Hey!" can be very effective. I hesitate to smack a car. There's little chance of damage from a good open hand smack, but it's a bit aggressive, and likely to lead to an aggressive reaction.
That's not to say I wouldn't do it. But I do try to follow the teachings of Dirt whenever possible, and seek a less aggressive means to express my dismay whenever possible. More likely to get a positive reaction out of the driver if you start off less aggressive.
Also, I've found since having children that I have an extra volume setting (it goes to 11) that I can get to when necessary. One of my daughter's 4-year-old friends even remarked on it at her birthday party when I yelled across the pool at Yards Park to my daughter (for the 8th time) to stop running. So that helps. Now that open-window season is over it does get harder.
I'm probably paranoid, but I've read too many stories of people getting shot or stabbed over road rage confrontations to touch someone's car. Not that I think it's actually big deal, but some people are freakishly protective of their stuff, particularly their cars, so it'd take an extreme situation for me to do something like that. That said, on my motorcycle, there have been times I've nearly done the "punch the sideview mirror off and speed away" (having armored gloves is a nice benefit of motorcycling) but knowing my luck, I'd probably break my hand and fall off the bike.
I occasionally will "reach out and touch someone". The way I look at it tho, if I can reach out and touch your car, your WAAAAAYYYYY too close. The other situation I'll tap someone's car is when they are stopped in a marked and controlled crosswalk and I cross behind them. I touch the car very lightly just enough to let them know its not appreciated.
I try to do the whole "Peace on earth and good will to humans" thang for the most part. If I've got someone who is moving into me, I will reach out and touch them before they actually hit me. It helps keep a few inches between their fender and my handlebars. My voice is quite effective in letting people know that I'm there. The problem that I have is that surprising a car like that can cause unpredictable reactions from the driver. Half the time when I smacked a car with my hand the driver turned INTO me rather than away from me... and it was purely because they had no clue what they were moving away from.
Most of the time I had issues with this when I would ride up the right side of a car. The easiest way for me to avoid having issues is to be very, very careful when it comes to riding up the right side of a car. I just don't do it when the car is moving. I'll take the lane and sit behind if traffic is moving slowly. When the speed picks up, I'll move to the right side and let people pass me if there's room.
If someone is threatening by life with dangerous driving (and I think that car in the british video was all but guilty of assault with a vehicle).... I will use any reasonable means at my disposal to protect myself. Thumping a car will do absolutely no damage to the car - and will get the drivers attention.
Safety rule one. If I have to thump you to keep you from running me over; I will.
I think I've mentioned it before but I once tapped on a taxi driver's window in Washington Circle, and he freaked and said he would shoot me if he had a gun.
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