The risk of being rear ended increases big time when dealing with tailgaters. Not only is tailgating rude behavior, it’s also extremely dangerous and leads to thousands of traffic accidents each year.
When faced with a tailgater, it’s important to take the “high road” and react with your head, not your emotions. It could mean the difference between being rear ended and being safe.
What is Tailgating?
Tailgating is driving too closely to the car in front of you.
This behavior can increase the likelihood of being involved in a rear-end crash. For this reason, engaging with a car that is tailgating should be avoided.
If you escalate the situation into road range, nothing good will come out of it. So for the best, just keep your calm. Sometimes, it’s more ideal to just let them pass. However . . .
Don’t Give In To Tailgating – It Won’t Work Anyway!
Chances are, you’ve dealt with people following too close many times before. And whether you want to admit it or not, being tailgated has probably influenced your driving behavior. Who wants to risk being rear ended? But the truth is, you can’t satisfy a tailgater! The vast majority of the time, even if you speed up, the tailgater will continue to follow too closely. So why give in to them in the first place?
What To Do When You’re Being Tailgated
If you find yourself in front of somebody following to closely, don’t lose control of your emotions. When somebody is driving aggressively behind you, it quickly becomes insulting and annoying. But remain calm. Think with your head. Here’s what to do:
Drive even slower
Yup. Next time you’re being tailgated, give it a try! Everybody has a breaking point. Eventually, instead of continuing to ride right on your bumper, they will angrily pass you. So what? It’s not your fault they’re running behind schedule! Don’t hit the brakes or you might get rear ended. Just let off the gas pedal. Do everything slowly. The last thing you want is for the jerk to run into you.
I know what you’re thinking; “But if I pull over, I’m letting the jerk win!”
My question to you is….so? Does it really matter? Do yourself a big favor and leave your ego in the garage. Trying to “win” a driving war is probably one of the most juvenile things you can do, not to mention dangerous. Hit your signal, slowly move over, and once the idiot passes you, continue along your merry way. Problem solved. Don’t act like you have something to prove to an idiot. It makes you look like a… Well, you know.
If you can’t safely pull over, and slowing down hasn’t worked, than just ignore it. You can’t control stupid. So just continue to follow proper defensive driving techniques and forget about it. Actually, if you’re really into “winning” the driving battle, this is the best way to do it. While they are basically saying “Hey! Look at me! I want you to go faster!” You reply with “Huh?” Very annoying to the tailgater… You win!
The main thing to remember is you can never make a tailgater happy. So don’t even try to give in. You’re better than that anyway. Aren’t you? Reduce your risk of being rear ended by a tailgater by keeping your cool and continuing to follow safe driving tips.
Retaliation Leads To Road Rage
Whether you decide to retaliate against a tailgating driver or not is ultimately up to you. All I can do is try to discourage it. It’s important to realize, however, that a tailgating driver is probably already aggravated and even a small amount of retaliation could spark a road rage event you weren’t expecting. Don’t stoop to the tailgaters level or allow them to be in control of your emotions. Relax.
It’s Not YOU
Tailgaters generally aren’t upset at you as an individual. They don’t even know who you are. What tailgaters are upset about is the obstacle in their way. You and your vehicle is that obstacle. So when you’re being tailgated, don’t feel personally offended. Simply continue to drive safely and let them be as aggravated as they choose to be.
Common Reasons why Drivers Tailgate
It’s not only dangerous to be followed too closely by another vehicle, but it is also against the law. And although some drivers may be doing it unintentionally, this traffic behavior is most often accompanied by another violation.
Here are some of the most common reasons why drivers end up tailgating:
Distracted driving. Yes, drivers secretly checking their phones or those who are lost in their thoughts while driving often end up not noticing that a driver has slowed down to turn, or that traffic has slowed down or stopped ahead.
Road rage or aggressive driving. Traffic is annoying. If one gets caught up in it, it’s highly likely to lose temper and control. Drivers get frustrated for not being able to get around slower-moving vehicles. Some drivers may just be having a bad day and end up taking their anger out on other drivers.
Driving while fatigued or sleepy. If the driver is not in good condition to drive, it’s hard to focus on the road. They may not be aware that they are following too closely, not until an accident happens. Although this is unintentional, this scenario is extremely dangerous and should be prevented at all costs.
Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol. This is another dangerous scenario as the driver is not in the state to judge distance correctly. This usually results in a DUI accident resulting from tailgating.
The driver is in a rush. Those who are in a hurry often have a clouded budget. Their main focus is to arrive at their destination on time. Being impatient especially when traffic is slow often ends up with these drivers tailgating the one ahead of them, as “riding the bumper” will encourage the driver to speed up or move out of the way.
The driver is inexperienced. Misjudging the correct following distance is not uncommon with first-time drivers. This is something that they will learn through experience because the distance required to stop while traveling at different speeds and under different road or weather conditions vary. Still, even if this is unintentional, there are ways to prevent this from happening.