Tailgating Season: Is There a Polite Way to Deal With Road Rage?

Because all advice goes down easier with a drink (even a non-alcoholic one). Especially when it's picked at random from our columnist's extensive collection of community cookbooks.

Dear Pink Lady,

As I was tooling down Lyons View en route to work, I was hugged by the car behind me. The driver would not back away, and being a Southern gentleman of a certain age, I refrained from bitch-slapping her into the next county at the red light.

What is the proper response to a tailgater, short of slamming on my brakes and having us both suffer the consequences?

—Foot Off the Pedal

Dear Pedal Pusher,

It does seem that as temperatures rise outside, so do the temperatures of people inside vehicles. It's hard to not feel understanding—there's little worse than stepping foot inside a hot car. Still, there's never an excuse for being a rude driver, and tailgating is simply dangerous. (Unless, of course, it's down in the parkling lot outside of a football stadium with a cooler full of beer and platters of tasty nibbles.)

Sadly, there is no ideal response to a tailgater. You can speed up yourself, which should only be done if you realize you are driving well under the speed limit and this is likely the reason why someone is tailgating you. You can continue to drive as you were doing and hope that you don't have to suddenly slam on your brakes. You can put a tacky bumper sticker on your car that informs any driver behind you that they should not tailgate.

But your best option is probably just to pull off the road at your first opportunity to do so safely and allow the car to pass you. Better a few minutes late to work than a fender-bender. And to keep your own temperature down, carry a thermos of "mint punch" in your vehicle. It's hard to stay fired up after a few refreshing sips.

Cheers,

The Pink Lady

Mint Punch

2 1/2 c. water

2 c. sugar

1 1/2 lemon juice

1 c. orange juice

Grated rind of 2 oranges

2 handfuls mint leaves

Ginger ale

Boil sugar and water for 10 minutes with grated orange rind. Pour over the orange and lemon juices and the mint leave. Cover and let stand at least an hour; strain.

To serve: Fill glasses with powdered ice. Add 1/3 c. juice and top with ginger ale. A real summer cooler.

This week's recipe is from The Picks of Pickens (Pickens, Miss., 1964).

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