Six Steps On How To Deal With Tailgaters On The Road

Have you ever noticed there always seems to be someone on the road who is in a greater hurry to get where they are going than everyone around them? While a few of these drivers may have a valid reason, such as a medical emergency, most have no reason at all. Their impatient behaviors often lead to them tailgating, which in turns places everyone on the road at risk. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce your risk of an accident, if you ever find yourself having to deal with a tailgater.

What Is Tailgating?

When a driver tailgates, they run up on, or follow, the car driving on the road ahead of them too closely. This behavior often does not give the tailgating driver time enough to stop, or even to avoid a collision, if the car in front of them brakes or swerves. It also effectively eliminates any possible exit routes they may have in order to avoid a collision. It is one of the top causes of auto accidents, and it has been estimated tailgating is responsible for approximately one third of all rear end collisions.

Who Tailgates?

For the most part, those who tailgate can be broken down into two basic categories.

  • Those who are not paying attention, or do not understand the space needed between two vehicles - These drivers do not always understand the 3-second following rule, or how to apply  it. They also may not understand the need to increase their following distance, if road conditions are less than ideal.
  • Those who are in a hurry, or being aggressive drivers These drivers are often attempting to move other vehicles out of their way with their actions. These actions may not only include tailgating, but may include flashing their headlights, blowing their horns, and attempting to pass in no passing zones. 

No matter which category they fall in, if the vehicle the tailgater is following is larger than the tailgater's vehicle, the tailgater is often unable to see around the vehicle. This puts the tailgater at a much higher risk of causing a rear-end collision, or failing to be able to see oncoming traffic, when and if the tailgater attempts to pass. This behavior not only puts the tailgater at risk of an accident, but puts all other drivers on the road at risk.

 How To Deal With A Tailgater

Although it may be tempting to quickly hit your brakes when another driver is following too closely behind you, doing so will put you and your family at risk of having an accident. 

Step #1 - Keep your cool. Do not allow the actions of the other driver to get under your skin, or do anything that will make them more aggressive than they already are. 

Step #2 - If you can do so safely, pull over and let the tailgater go by. If you are on a two lane road, with no where to pull over safely, consider using a driveway, or turn off onto a side street.

Step #3 - If the driver is being overly aggressive, or you feel they pose a risk to others on the road, attempt to record their license plate number when they pass by and call it in to the police. 

Step #4 - If you are driving side by side with another vehicle, consider dropping back and allowing the tailgater to pass.

Step #5 - If it is not possible to pull over, maintain a consistent speed. Do not allow the other driver to force you to speed up nor slow down. Follow all of the traffic laws in your area.

Step #6 - If you are driving slow due to mechanical issues, or other reasons, turn on your hazard lights to let the other driver know you are having problems.

If these steps do not work, and you happen to be injured in an automobile accident as a result of tailgating, or other types of aggressive driving, contact an experienced accident attorney. They will know how to seek maximum compensation benefits which may be available to compensate for your injuries. You can also click here for more info about what an accident attorney can do for you.