After a very short while, the driver zipped out into the other lane and gunned it, passing me as we rounded a curve - gentle curve, but still a curve. Idiot, I thought. Now, when I'm driving out at night and somebody passes me, I generally wait maybe 10 seconds before turning my high beams back on, to give them some distance. If they tailgate me and drive like morons, I might wait only 5 seconds - I'll give them a little distance, but I won't go the extra mile. That's what I did tonight. In retrospect, kind of a mistake.
As soon as I put the high beams on, the SUV - by now maybe a tenth of a mile ahead - braked. Big time. I hit the brakes. The SUV started going. I slowly started going. Then he braked again and came to a dead stop. I wasn't going fast, but I had to brake hard and swerve onto the shoulder. He swerved onto the shoulder in front of me. I swerved back on to the road. He swerved back on to the road. At some point in this, he had a shot at bashing me on the passenger side and I thought he was going to (his SUV was an old beater; I say "he" but I didn't get a look at the driver), but it didn't happen. Also at some point in this, I did turn off my brights. The SUV started going down the road again.
I followed - giving plenty of distance. OK, this was really dumb, but after giving that driver the normal amount of time - he was way down the road - I turned my brights back on. The SUV's brake lights went on again. I pulled over and called 911. The SUV kept going, passing someone up ahead while going up a hill.
I had his plate number, and I gave it to the dispatcher along with a description of the SUV and its direction of travel. She said if any squads were in the area, they'd look for it. About a mile down the road, I saw a sheriff's SUV in a bar parking lot. As I passed, its lights (regular, not emergency) went on and it started pulling out. I turned and kept going on my way down a different road. I'd like to think they tracked the guy down.
I'm fine. My car's fine. As the title of this post says, I could have prevented this. But...