My first job in the practice of law was with an “insurance defense” firm.

As the name implies, I defended lawsuits for insurance companies.

And because many of these lawsuits were the result of motor vehicle accidents, I have come to be something of a keen observer of my fellow motorists, and all the things they do that are dangerous, stupid or just plain irritating. And from that background comes this week’s list of things that tick me off.

n First is tailgating. As my wife can attest, I tend to get very upset at drivers in traffic traveling 70 mph with a following distance of two car lengths. Apparently, many people don’t realize that at 70 mph, they are traveling more than 102 feet per second. So if they are planted 40 feet from my back bumper at that speed, they would not be able to get their foot off the accelerator before plowing into the back of my vehicle, if I had to stop for something in front of me.

I have seen and handled insurance claims over many such accidents in my day. All you have to do is travel in rush hour traffic one morning, and you are likely to see at least one instance of two or more bashed up vehicles parked on the shoulder, because some driver didn’t understand the concept of a safe following distance.

n Unrestrained children in motor vehicles. For whatever reason, seat belts don’t bother me, and I don’t mind wearing mine when I drive. However, I understand that many people don’t like to wear them, and hey, in my opinion it should be a matter of choice for adults, who, in my opinion should be allowed to make their own decisions in such matters.

But when it comes to children, that is a much different issue. Much like the decision to become involved with alcohol, tobacco or sexuality, under the law, children are deemed not to have the maturity to make their own decisions in regard to such matters, and for good reason.

Accordingly, I tend to get very upset when I see a toddler standing in the seat of a motor vehicle traveling down the highway. And I am sure that young child standing in the seat has no idea or appreciation as to the devastating physical trauma he would suffer in a collision or rollover accident. But then, toddlers and children don’t understand these kinds of things. Unfortunately, many adults don’t either.

n Litterbugs. OK, this is really not a safety issue. But it still makes my blood boil to see someone toss their refuse out the window of a moving motor vehicle. What do they think? The planet Earth is their personal landfill? Can’t they just hang onto their trash and deposit it in an appropriate place at the next opportunity?

Perhaps the worst offenders I see are smokers. Hey, if you want to smoke as you tool down the road in your car, go ahead. Trash your lungs, your clothes, your hair, and the interior of your motor vehicle if you like with the rancid smell of burned tobacco. But don’t trash the roadway with your nasty cigarette butts, please.

Smoking does not give you a license to litter, as many seem to think. And if you ever had to actually clean up a portion of the public roadway and right of way, you would see what an awful mess your “not give a damn about a little cigarette butt” attitude makes, when compounded by the same attitude of many of your fellow smokers.

n Uninsured drivers. The law requires drivers to maintain liability insurance as part of the privilege of operating their motor vehicle on the public roadway. Some people, however, just don’t see the need to fulfill this legal responsibility.

And ultimately, those of us who follow the rules, and maintain insurance on our vehicles, pay the cost for those who don’t.

Indeed there are more. But I’ve griped enough for one week.