How to react if you’re being tailgated

Posted by at 29 March 2020, at 08 : 33 AM

How to react if you’re being tailgated

For city dwellers who commute in bumper to bumper traffic and rarely get to experience motoring speeds above that of a casual Sunday jog, people who moan about tailgating must seem … what’s the word? Precious? Whiney? A little too demanding? But here’s the thing: statistics show that almost a million motorists per year are injured directly because of tailgating, with 2,000 directly related deaths – a huge one-quarter of all accidents on American roads are due to avoidable rear-end collisions. So. Bumper to bumper city traffic may be the norm for some, but to those of us who like our strangers to leave a reasonable stopping distance, there are things we can do to reduce the chances of a collision when we’re being tailgated (if you do get into a scrape, there is a car accident lawyer in Miami that can give you more information).

Be the bigger person

This advice applies to almost all situations involving stress. Be the bigger person. Let it go. Let the person causing the stress have their moment. Don’t let it ruin your day or potentially cause you injury or worse. But how do we be the bigger person when we’re being tailgated? Simple. The thing with tailgaters is that they have made their bed and now they’re going to lie in it. They will be persistent. Nobody starts to tailgate for maybe 15 seconds before having an attack of the conscience and easing off – once the tailgating has begun, pride is at stake in the mind of the reckless driver. They want one thing and one thing only – they want you to move out of the way. Whether it’s because they woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or whether they think you have committed some motoring offence that caused them to act fast to avoid disaster, the fact is that you need to find a way to let them past and have their victory to calm the situation. Change lane, pull into a side street, pull over entirely if that’s the safe and only option. Let the idiot fly by, turn on the radio, and let out the tension in your shoulders. Disaster averted.

Don’t up the ante

There’s a reason the last tip ended with the soothing suggestion of listening to the radio to let the stress fade away. If you decide to be the bigger person and let the tailgater overtake, there is a chance that, at the very last moment, you could feel like you’ve acted like enough of a saint already, and one little hand gesture wouldn’t hurt. This can cause issues. If the tailgater takes offence, they could feel like they STILL want to get back at you for something, which could cause them to brake hard in front of you to scare you – this can be easily avoided. Choose the radio. Not hand gestures. Be happy. Be safe.

Look ahead to plan for slowing traffic

If you simply aren’t in a position to get out of the way of your tailgater, there is something you can do to avoid any heart-stopping moments of panic – plan ahead. You see, when you’re driving with an unwanted and overly familiar sidekick riding high on your caboose, and you begin to approach slowing or stopped traffic, you don’t just have to worry about stopping your vehicle in time, you have to plan ahead and start braking early to avoid being rear-ended.

General Automotive Articles