Tailgating can be very dangerous, even for cars that seem beyond striking distance. It’s the act of following a car too closely and can result in disastrous consequences if the car in front should stop.
Tailgating is a common problem among irresponsible motorists; and while we might try to better our own driving habits, we sometimes have to deal with drivers who don’t have the same honorable intentions as we do.
Learning how to deal with tailgaters is an important part of road safety. It could easily spell the difference between a safe ride home or a multi-car pile-up on the freeway.
Here’s are some tips to help you deal with tailgating drivers.
Tailgaters are usually born with a need to overtake every car in front of them. While some tailgaters do what they do because of a genuine emergency (medical or otherwise), others do it out of a reckless need to get where they need to go in the shortest time possible.
Speeding will only provoke more persistent speedsters, but slowing down will force tailgaters to give you the space you need to stay at a safe distance.
Don’t drastically drop speed without warning, doing so might end up causing the very same accident you were trying to avoid. Instead, slow down gradually in increments of 5 MPH. The tailgater will be forced to adjust, and if you’re lucky, pass you completely.
Let Them Pass You
The easiest way to get rid of a tailgater is to give them what they want. Most tailgaters simply want to get ahead of the car in front of them, put unsolicited pressure on other drivers by sticking to their rear bumper.
If they look like they’re trying to get past you, make it easier. There’s nothing to gain by trying to matching their speed. This is where slowing down can give the tailgater ample opportunity to pull alongside and eventually pass you altogether.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Persist But Don’t Provoke
When jockeying for some ample driving space, a bit of prodding is sometimes necessary. You need to send a clear message that tailgating isn’t something that you’re going to take lying down.
Hopefully, they’ll take it as a sign to back off and give you some space; but if they don’t, simply let them overtake you.
It’s better to be able to concede some ground than to pay for it with a bumper on your rear end. You have to know when to tell the other driver to back off, and when to surrender your position as lead car.
Don’t Confront Them
While a majority of tailgaters are simply in a hurry, others take the sadistic pleasure of getting a rise out of other drivers. Do not get baited into a provoked confrontation with them.
While these kinds of tailgaters are the most annoying sort of offenders, they are also the most dangerous. They are usually drivers who are either drugged or intoxicated; if not simply reckless delinquents. Either way, it’s important to not to give them any more reason to put your life at any more risk. Allow them to pass or concede your lane to them.
If they try to get your attention by yelling obscenities and making offensive gestures, keep your eyes on the road instead.
Tailgating is just as hazardous to the driver as it is to fellow motorists. But by keeping your wits about you and your pride in check, you’ll be able to comfort yourself with a safe ride home.