Coronavirus - your questions answered: CLICK HERE

How to deal with tailgaters

Whether you’re a new driver or a more experienced one, you’ll likely have to deal with tailgaters more often than you’d like. A ‘tailgater’ is a car that drives closely behind you, usually with the intention to pressure you to hurry up or show that they’re trying to get past. You might have even tailgated yourself when in a rush and stuck behind a particularly slow driver. In some cases, someone might not even know they’re tailgating – they just don’t realise how close they actually are.

While we all want to get to our destination as quickly as possible, tailgating is never acceptable – it increases the risk of running into the car in front, leading to potential costly claims for both drivers. It can also be quite intimidating to have a tailgater behind you, especially if they’re acting aggressively or if you’re an inexperienced driver. The key to dealing with tailgaters is not to panic though, and never let them pressure you into driving dangerously. These simple tips will help you deal with them calmly, and avoid an accident.

Don’t feel the pressure

When you have another car right on your bumper, you’ll likely want to get away as quickly as possible – and the easiest way to do that might be to step on the gas pedal. However, if that means breaking the speed limit, it’s important not to be intimidated by a tailgater. Limits are in place for a reason and, if the car behind you is keen to break the limit, that doesn’t mean you have to. Keep your calm, keep within the limit and try not to focus on the driver behind you. If you still feel intimidated, just remember that if you’re caught speeding, or get into an accident as a result, it won’t be the car behind dealing with the consequences – it will all be on you.

Let them pass

When dealing with tailgaters, it’s easy to get annoyed. You might be tempted to stop the car behind from passing in order to teach them a lesson or show them you won’t be easily intimidated – however, this may just cause them to get more aggressive and possibly cause any incident. That’s why you should let them pass as soon as it’s safe to do so. That way, they’re away from you when they can’t cause you any damage, and you can get on with your journey in peace.

Increase the space in front

Whether you’re dealing with an aggressive tailgater itching to get by or a more passive follower who simply doesn’t realise they’re too close, it’s important to make up for the lack of room they’re giving you behind by keeping your distance from the car in front. The thinking behind this is, if the car behind does happen to go into the back of you, you have more stopping distance ahead, while can prevent you going into the car in front and stop a potential pile-up. It’s also never ideal to move too closely to the car in front to get away from the car behind – this will make you a tailgater too.

Slow down gradually

The risk with tailgaters is, if you brake suddenly, they won’t have enough time to react and stop safely behind you. While this isn’t your fault, it’s still worth doing as much as you can to avoid an accident – for your sake, and the sake of road users around you. If you do need to come to a stop and you’re aware of a car tailing you, try to slow gradually rather than braking at the last minute if possible. This should give the car behind more time to stop safely – and may even warn them that they’re following too close.

Nobody enjoys being tailgated – but unfortunately, it’s a very common thing to see out on the road. No matter how much it might intimidate or anger you, it’s important to keep level-headed when you’re subject to tailgating and to avoid an accident where possible.

Posted on October 23, 2018
Category Driving Tips