Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the Road: Being Followed?

Wizard Island - Crater Lake Oregon
Wizard Island - Crater Lake Oregon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Sometimes drivers decide talking to other travelers on the road is harmless, and in most cases that is true. When I am driving cross-country, I usually do not pay a whole lot of attention to other people. When I am sightseeing, I am more observant. On a trip to Crater Lake one time I noticed a man was following me. I decided to take the boat trip to Wizard Island so I could lose him. He followed. Everywhere I went on the island, I noticed he went as well. When it was time to take the boat back to the lodge, I told the boat operator what was happening. He informed some of the people at the beginning of the line of the situation. When the boat was loading, the operator asked for one available person to ride in the boat. The people, who were in line in front of me, let me get on the boat and some started talking to the man who had been following me to keep him busy. I was able to get to my car and get out of there with no more problems.

That was not the only time I have been followed. Sometimes I am followed by cars and even trucks. I asked some truckers about this and they said sometimes truckers will pass a car and then slow down. When the car then passes the truck, the trucker will speed up and pass the car again. According to them, this is a game to alleviate the boredom of the trip. Here is what I do to end it...and I have had to do this many times. I get off at an exit and pull into a travel plaza. If he decides to follow me, the trucker has to slow down to enter the station, but he cannot accomplish this as quickly as the driver of a car can do. As the truck pulls into the station, I drive through the plaza and back onto the interstate again. I am way ahead of him before he can try to follow me again.

If I were in a populated area and noticed a car following me, I could go to a police station. If I felt uncomfortable getting out of the car, I would just blast the car horn until an officer came out to check what was happening. Drivers must still be cautious even though they are at the police station. They are not safe until the police are with them. Another option would be to call 911. Trying to see the license plate of another vehicle while I am driving might be difficult. The easiest thing to do is just give the police a description of my vehicle and my license plate number. They would then know the car near me is the vehicle they need to investigate. In addition, I try to note the mile markers every once in a while, so I have an idea of where I am in case I need to call the Highway Patrol for help.

When traveling alone, I try to always be aware of my surroundings. I am never afraid to ask for help and I always trust my gut when I suspect something could affect my safety. I feel it is better to be paranoid and take actions to protect myself than to ignore the situation and put myself in harm's way.
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