I have had three incidents in the last two months involving strange or careless behavior of law enforcement in this area. I realize that, by posting this on my blog, I’m probably painting a target on my car (despite having donated 2 years in a row to supply Kevlar vests to law enforcement, with the stickers to prove it). But last night is just the last straw.
I’m going to go in chronological order. About two months ago, shortly after I started my night job near Dulles, Virginia, I was driving along Highway 7 at about 12:30am. I was in the right lane, driving 45mph with a very clear green light, passing Sterling Rd when a car pulls out in front of me. I quickly swerved to the empty lane to the left of me to avoid the idiotic driver, only to realize that it’s a cop. Brilliant.
About a month later, same time of night, and again, someone pulls out in front of me. This time I had the foresight to honk and give a thumbs-up sign (since I’ve found “the finger” has the ability to enrage bad drivers). I look in the rear-view to see, again, IT’S A COP! Wow…I was expecting to be pulled over for ‘something’, due to the honk and the thumbs-up sign, but thankfully I wasn’t.
Now, last night, I take the toll road. It’s about $3.50 one way, but there was construction on Hwy 7 the previous, blocking all lanes of eastbound traffic, and I was 20 minutes late to work. So I left 30 minutes early so I could relieve the other person working and send them home that much earlier as repayment. The on-ramp to the toll is actually a reverse fork, with southbound and northbound Hwy 15 traffic merging onto the westbound tollroad. I’m on the left fork, and there’s another car on the right fork.
At this point I’ve sped up to just shy of the speed limit, 60mph. The other car matches this speed, remaining in my blind spot to my right. I more or less ignore it, thinking that either he will speed up or slow down enough to allow me to get over to the right. I wait, jiving to Louis Armstrong on the local Jazz station, and chill for the drive to work.
I sped up to 65mph, semi-consciously trying to separate from this other car. After a couple miles, I lean over to my right to look, and the car is still sitting in my blind spot. I’m starting to get a little paranoid, so I decide to speed up to about 68mph. After 1/8 mile, the other car matches my speed again. I let this go for about another mile.
On the next right-curve, I shifted my car into neutral to coast, so I would decelerate quickly, but also so my brake lights wouldn’t show. The other car zooms past me for a moment, then the car brakes hard. This is freaking me out, and I’m about to call 911 when the other car puts on his police lights.
All this time, this dude freaking me out is a cop.
I pulled over to the left shoulder, since the cop was blocking the right lane, as he had been for about the last 4-5 miles. I rolled down the window and left my hands on the top of the steering wheel as he walked up to my car. He came up, and asked me what I was up to. I explained, in clear terms, that an unknown car had been pacing me for about 5 miles and I was trying to get away from this car. There had been some gang activity in the area recently, and I had no idea what the intentions of this unknown driver were. He claimed that I was driving 74mph (completely untrue), and that I was swerving within the lines. I may have swerved when I leaned to my right in order to see if he was still following me, but otherwise I was driving steadily.
I didn’t get a ticket or a warning, just a request to drive safer in the future (?!?). I’m sure I will abide by this request as long as I’m not stalked by unknown law enforcement vehicles who remain unidentified in my blind spot at a high rate of speed!