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Friday, February 17, 2012

Driving ~ How to Handle Tailgaters on the Road

I found this on the internet. 

Here are some useful steps, tips and warnings on how to handle tailgaters on the road. 

How to Handle Tailgaters on the Road
Edited bySchiller Dorr and 13 others

You may have learned the value of driving your car at speeds you can handle but how do you deal with a driver who offensively drives too close behind you? This article will give you some ways to practice simple, safe, and effective measures to get out of a potentially dangerous tailgating situation.


1 ~ Remain calm! Losing your cool means losing control, and losing control of your vehicle is the last thing you want to do. Deep breaths are a big help. Focus on your situation, and not on the radio or passengers or cell phones, (which you might want to avoid using while driving, especially in a tense situation).

2 ~ Always know your local driving laws. Tailgating is generally against the law, as is causing an accident by driving into someone's back bumper. While you don't want to be in an accident, the aggressive driver behind you will most likely be at fault if he or she drives into you. Chances are they know the outcome if they hit you, and will want to avoid doing so.

3 ~ Pull over and allow the vehicle behind you to pass, if it is safe to do so. This is always the most rapid way of getting rid of a tailgater. If the car behind you is catching up, there's a good chance the driver wants to go faster. If it's safe to do so, let him/her.
On narrower roads, use turnouts to allow others to pass when it is safe to do so. In many places, it is required that slower traffic use turnouts. Elsewhere, it is simply polite.
On a winding road, do not speed up so drastically at passing lanes that others cannot pass. Many drivers go slowly and cautiously around curves and then get on a straightaway and feel that they have the space or visibility to dart ahead. Have the patience to let others past.

4 ~ If at all possible, slow slightly and move away from the center of the road; allowing the tailgater to pass safely. Normally a tailgater just wants to drive faster, so they will pass and leave you alone. If you know people want to pass you, try to stay out of the high speed (passing) lane(s).

5 ~ Maintain a constant speed. This allows the tailgating driver to predict when he can pass you. Avoid speeding up and slowing down to send him a message - this only increases his frustration level.
When in doubt, use your cruise control. This can help ensure that you remain at a constant speed of your choosing, and helps prevent accelerating when an agitating driver is trying to "push" you into speeding up. Plus, you are likely in a tense situation already. Using cruise control means you don't have to concentrate on your speed as much, so you can concentrate more on removing yourself from this situation.

6 ~ Above all else, do not be a source of the problem. If you cannot switch lanes for any reason, various laws of physics are going to prevent the tailgater from driving through you. However, if you're matching speed with a vehicle beside you, perhaps you should consider slowing down and switching lanes. Diffusing the dangerous situation is far more advantageous than bickering over the speed limit.

7 ~ In multi-lane traffic, if you find yourself getting repeatedly tailgated, try driving a safe distance behind a truck. Drivers approaching from behind will see the truck and get into another lane before ever getting close.

8 ~ Communicate. If the driver behind you flashes their high beams on and off, chances are they're just asking you to move rather than being a jerk. Stickers or magnets indicating things like "student driver" or "sorry but i only do the speed limit" are very effective at communicating your driving preference. Turning on your hazard lights (flashers) lets other drivers know that you are experiencing technical difficulties which likely affect your speed, (remember to move out of the way as soon as is safely possible.) Waving offensive hand gestures on the other hand is most likely not going to be helpful, and will only elevate a bad situation. Raising your hands in a "helpless shrug" might seem to indicate that you can't help the situation, but it may also come across as defiant. Plus you're taking your hands off the wheel!

9 ~ If you cannot remove yourself from the situation, prepare for annoying behavior from aggressive drivers. They may turn on their high beams, blow their horn, shout insults and give unfriendly gestures. Flipping your rear view mirror to nighttime position will help if they turn on the high beams, and preparing yourself mentally for the possible onslaught of horns and cursing will help you deal with it.

10 ~ If there are passengers in your car, try not to fluster them. You may ask them to remain quiet while you deal with the offensive driver. They may try to offer advice, but ultimately distractions should be kept to a minimum.

11 ~ Do not view the aggressor as an 'adversary', 'opponent' or 'ignorant driver who needs taught a lesson'. Avoid the urge to be a vigilante. This is not the place to teach lessons, and the tailgater will not learn by having you frustrate them further. Just concentrate on diffusing the situation. Let law enforcement handle the enforcement of laws.

12 ~ Tap your brakes lightly a few times, so that he/she sees your brake lights, but not so hard that you actually slow down. This is another signal for them to back off. (Don't brake hard to 'teach them a lesson' - this will only end up causing an accident, which is worse for everybody.)


• Practice peace and calm as other drivers actions seek to disturb your driving practices.

• Drive courteously as much as possible: let people pass, let speeders make their own mistakes, make room for people entering the highway, try to follow the zipper pattern when merging, always use signals, etc. The more people do this, the nicer driving will be for everyone.

• Use the simple rule of "slower traffic keep right". (In right-side-of-the-road countries)

• Remember that it is safest to drive in a predictable manner, and even though there is pressure on you, communicate by using your signals.

• Remember that it is safer to "go with the flow" than to be a "rock in the stream". If the average flow of traffic on a road is too fast for you, consider alternate routes.

• Remind yourself that you are entitled to the safest possible experience on the road and must offer this, to inspire others as well.

• When the unsafe driver passes you, take note of their license plate and consider calling a non-emergency law enforcement (such as the highway patrol). If the vehicle has a company identification number and a phone number to call to report unsafe driving, even better. You should never confront another driver, but you can help hold them accountable for poor driving.

• Try not to be a part of the problem. You may not be legally required to switch lanes to get out of their way, but if it is safely possible to get out of the way, you will make things safer and less stressful for everyone on the road.

• Do not slow down "until they back off", this is a false concept. When you slow down, they will obviously slow down to avoid hitting you, but if you continue to slow down, they have no method of "backing off" until you resume speed.


• Never attempt to "teach someone a lesson" on the road. All drivers have the same rights on the road and are subject to the same laws. If you are not an on-duty law officer, then you may be breaking the law by imposing your views on driving.

• Don't intentionally do things which aggravate other drivers. At best this is simply obnoxious. At worst, you may find the rare crazy who carries a gun and lacks the self restraint needed to avoid shooting at you. Do not under any circumstances make an already bad situation into a worse one.

• If you carry a cell phone, it is a good idea to keep an emergency number and a non emergency law enforcement number on speed dial. If someone is driving recklessly you should report it to the non emergency law enforcement, (better to have a passenger make the call while you drive!).


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