Each day, I drive through a heavily wooded area in a nature reservation (in the United States). The roads have many twists, turns and hills, and the speed limit is 25 miles per hour. Cars going much faster are likely to crash. There are few, if any, places to turn off; guardrails, embankments and a foot-wide shoulder make pulling over virtually impossible. There are also no passing zones.
I normally drive at the speed limit or a little bit below (20 mph on the worst sections), because even though I know the area well, it's still not as safe as, say, a nice flat side street. However, over the last week, I've had several cases where a person is tailgating me - typically an SUV roughly two or three feet behind my rear bumper. I seem to have a couple choices:
- I could go faster, and risk injuring myself and any other vehicles, cyclists or nearby pedestrians. This also means that I'd have less time to stop at wildlife crossings, which are fairly common on these roads. Enough collisions with animals happen already in the area.
- I could go the same speed, and continue to annoy the driver.
- I could attempt to pull off at one or two spots, but the other driver is so close that I'm afraid to slow down while I pull off - they could still hit me!
I could, of course, go slower, but that would simply be obnoxious.
At the moment, I use the second option (and I should be clear: I'm not asking for advice on what the best thing to do is). I'd prefer to be safe above all else, and that's the safest solution for everyone involved (although it's not my personal responsibility to decide how fast another vehicle should go). On the other hand, it's always possible that the other vehicle needs to get somewhere for an emergency - and that worries me a bit.
Is it rude for me to stay with the second option? I'd prefer safety above courtesy, of course, but it still bugs me a bit. Having them tailgate me when they want to go faster is also a bit dangerous.