Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving that can lead to rear-end collisions and even multi-car accidents. When one driver follows another so closely that there is little time to react, this action puts both drivers and those around them at risk of an accident.
If a tailgater follows you, you should know the best ways to de-escalate the problem.
Do's and Don'ts of Stopping a Tailgating Driver
Don't - "Brake Checking"
Brake checking is the act of abruptly hitting the brakes to tell the tailgating driver to back off. Not only is this dangerous, but it could make you partially at fault for the accident if the tailgater hits you. Remember that the other car might be following you so closely that he cannot see your brake lights until it is too late.
Do - Create Distance
If you are going under the speed limit, increase your speed safely to the legal limit. Tailgaters most often target slower drivers in the far left lane, so avoid driving slowly in that lane to decrease the risk of attracting a tailgater.
Don't - Flash Lights or Use Windshield Fluid
Some drivers might flash their headlights or use their windshield fluid, so it hits the windshield of the tailgater. These behaviors are only annoying, and tailgaters might take them as signs of aggression.
Do - Change Lanes Safely
As soon as a tailgater engages, put your blinker on to move to an adjacent lane when it is safe. Most tailgaters are just impatient drivers wanting to speed by, and they might back off or at least not get worse if you signal that you are trying to move out of their way.
Above All - Stay Calm and Do Not Become an Aggressive Driver
One of the biggest risks of dealing with a tailgater is that you will let yourself become overly nervous or angry at the situation. An overwhelmed driver becomes a dangerous driver and makes you as much of a threat to the other drivers as the tailgater.
If the methods listed above do not stop your tailgating problem, you should pull over to a safe, well-lit area with other people around. If the driver follows and gets out of his car, remain calm with the windows up and doors locked. If you believe the driver will be a threat to others, or if the driver follows you and you feel that you are in danger, you should call 911 to report him to the police.
Additionally, if you pull over, you can report the incident directly to the police. Remember to get as many details about the vehicle as you can, such as make, model, and color.
Know Your Right to Compensation When Dangerous Drivers Cause Accidents
The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. wants to make sure you know your rights to compensation for injuries sustained in a car accident. Regardless of who you think was at fault, call us at 404-474-0804 for a free consultation to learn about your legal options.