Urban Legend: Killer in the Backseat
Like most urban legends, the content of the story of the “killer in the backseat”, as well as its perpetuation over several decades, reflects some important information about the behaviors and attitudes of our society. The fact that the story has been modified over the years to mirror the changes that have occurred in society offers even more support for this assumption. Although the habit and appeal of passing on stories like the “killer in the backseat” can be attributed to human nature, the urban legend still has major significance in revealing social characteristics such as the perceptions of gender roles, fear of criminals and in some cases the racial attitudes of society.
The Killer in the Backseat
The story of the “killer in the backseat” has been around for decades, with its origin dating back as far as the 1960s. Like any story that is passed from one person to the next, generally by word-of-mouth, it has undergone some minor changes, with the only major variation of the story’s content occurring within the last decade.
The original story begins with a woman enjoying a night on the town with her girlfriends. After a few drinks and at a relatively late hour, the woman gets into her vehicle and heads home. The road home of course is a deserted highway, where she is approached from behind by another car that attempts to pass her. The woman becomes alarmed when the driver aborts the passing maneuver and begins to tailgate and flash his high beams at her. The driver behind her continues this behavior until the woman, now completely unnerved, reaches her home and screeches into her driveway. As the woman jumps out and dashes to her house, the other driver, who has now reached he driveway, yells out to her, "Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!" (Killer).