As a black woman, it’s often unsafe for me to drive alone. I realized this during my first year in very populated Northern Virginia as I drove back to my new apartment from the nearby mall. I went to Potomac Mills after work for whatever unmemorable reason, so time quickly shifted from late evening to dark night while I picked up purchases and dinner.
I approached the first stoplight leaving the shopping center, braking and stopping as the overhead circle of yellow flashed to red. A horn simultaneously sounded from my right. I turned my head to glance at a driver, a male silhouette whom I didn’t recognize, so I automatically assumed his attention-getting tactic was meant for someone else. Yet when I pressed the gas pedal at the green light, I noticed that he trailed me.
He honked a little longer at the next light. This time I took off at a higher speed, but the faster I went, the faster he went, too. We raced towards Dale Blvd – which led to my apartment – breezing past slower-moving drivers who obeyed posted signs and probably chastised my recklessness because they were oblivious to my situation and impending dilemma.