Tag Archives | tailgater

Too close for comfort

Most drivers have an opinion on how to treat tailgaters. But what is the correct way to deal safely and sensibly with those who follow too close behind? Tailgating is not only annoying, it can be dangerous, so stay calm and don’t speed up under the pressure you may feel. How you shake-off a tailgater depends on whether he or she is of the ‘passive’ or ‘aggressive’ variety. An aggressive tailgater has the clear intention of passing you. They will actively drive up your rear in a fashion that says ‘Get out of my way’. A passive tailgater is different. Normally, they have no real intention of passing you but simply drive too close. This is most likely an unconscious choice as they’re probably not concentrating and thinking about leaving a safe braking distance. Each type requires a different approach. With an aggressive tailgater, keep a constant speed and as soon as it’s safe to do so, pull over to let them pass, that’s it. You may feel this is rewarding bullying behaviour, but it’s not worth risking your safety. With a passive tailgater, always leave plenty of space in front of you. Don’t be tempted to brake sharply. Flashing your brake lights isn’t going make your tailgater back off as it will lose impact. It’s better to just ease off your accelerator, then, if you do need to brake suddenly, the brake light should prompt your tailgater to take evasive action. It may be tempting to put some distance between you and the car behind, but don’t as you’re likely to create the same situation for the car in front. And if they brake suddenly, you could become an unwitting ‘sandwich’. To ensure you never tailgate, always maintain at least 2-3 seconds of distance behind the car in front of you and by doing so, you’ll be able to stop safely if necessary.

Too close for comfort

You’re driving at the speed limit but someone behind you just can’t bear it. So how do you deal with it? You might assume they’re bullying and impatient, but not every tailgater is making an aggressive move. Many drivers get too close to the car in front because they’re distracted or have developed bad habits over the years. Don’t assume they are angry as this can make you feel intimidated and lead to mistakes. If the driver behind does not maintain a safe distance, don’t be bullied into speeding up as they will probably speed up as well and close the gap again which makes it worse because now you’re than speeding up to 50mph in a 40mph zone because you’re being pressured. You might want to consider P-plates on your car for a year after you pass your test as they can act as a reminder to the driver behind. It’s easy to find yourself looking for too long in your rear-view mirror when the real hazards are in front of you. If you’re feeling bothered pull over safely to let them pass. Tailgating frequently happens in 20 and 30mph zones, precisely the places where speed limits are most important, such as rural roads or school zones. Someone trying to pressure you into driving at an unsafe speed is not worth your worry, so hold steady.