Imagine you’re out on a multi lane road, safely driving a consistent speed within the legal limit. When you glance behind you in your rearview mirror, you see a car following so closely that you can barely see their headlights.
Someone is tailgating you and not obeying traffic regulations. You’re scared they will run into you and cause costly car repairs.
And then you see red light ahead. You hesitate to put on the brake pedal, but you know you have to stop. And then, even though you’re driving safely, the aggressive tailgater crashes into the back of your car. You’ve just become a victim of a tailgating driver – and you did nothing wrong.
What is Tailgating?
A tailgating driver is someone who is usually driving faster than they should and who is not keeping a safe driving distance between them and the car in front of them. Tailgating can happen just as easily in a parking lot as it can on a multi lane highway. Many times tailgating can occur in a slow lane on the highway or no passing zones when the driver in the car ahead is keeping a constant speed limit or driving on winding roads to be extra cautious.
Unfortunately, many times, tailgating can result in an accident where the first car is rear-ended by the second.
How to safely handle tailgaters on the road
- Drive into the city
Chances are, the aggressive tailgater is not driving the speed limit not keeping a consistent speed. If you fear the driver behind you may hurt you, whether the whether it’s a stranger or someone you might know, remain calm. Drive into a city center or densely populated area where people are in large numbers. Pull over onto the street or a populated parking lot and wait for them to pass.
2. Drive to a safe location
Your safety is the top priority. If you feel more safe driving to a friend or family member’s home, stay calm, drive at a constant pace, and drive to the home of someone you trust. It is wise to drive past your own home, especially if you live alone.
3. Pull over until they change lanes
Put on your turn signal and merge into the adjacent lane – or better yet, the right lane if driving on a two lane road – and wait for the tailgater’s car to pass. Above all, it’s important to remember to practice safe driving and keep your speed consistent so you can avoid an accident or necessary car repairs.
4. Get their license plate number
If you are alone in the car and it is possible to see and remember their license plate number, try to do so. After the tailgating driver passes you, you can report their license plate to the authorities and report the behavior so it become part of their driving career.
If you are with a friend, ask the other passenger to look in the rear view mirror and write down the license plate number.
How to avoid being a tailgating driver
- Keep a safe following distance
While there is no universal safe following distance that is applied under every driving circumstance, the “3-second rule” is a helpful method to increase safe driving and avoid being a tailgating driver. This rule indicates that a driver should count in one-second intervals when the vehicle ahead of them passes a certain point, like a traffic light. If the car ahead passes the traffic light before he or she reaches 3 seconds in their count, he or she is following too closely.
Motorcycle drivers should account for four seconds.
2. Safely navigate the following conditions:
- Driving on slippery roads or a scenario involving ice
- Being a driver behind other drivers, like motorcyclists or bicyclers, on metal surfaces and loose gravel.
- Towing a trailer, boat, or carrying other cars
- Following larger vehicles on a side street
- Merging lanes onto a multi lane highway
- Driving in cruise control
What if a tailgating driver causes an accident?
Even if you pay close attention to the road, apply your brakes with a reasonable amount of time, and try to avoid tailgaters, they can still crash into your vehicle at a high speed and cause car repairs to be necessary.
If this is the case, it’s normal to feel anger. However, remaining calm is crucial. Exchange license and insurance information with the person who hit you and call the police if you are injured.
The next step you should take is to call a personal injury lawyer like the ones at Lawyers for Justice, PC. Our firm’s personal injury attorneys can help you recover compensation for the accident. We take your driving record into consideration; so if you are typically a good driver, we can help build a strong accident case against the other driver who hit you.
Call (818) JUSTICE to receive a FREE consultation so our powerful personal injury lawyers can fight for you. Our clients don’t pay any up-front fees.
Get more information on the motor vehicle accident cases we fight here.