If someone is tailgating you, you may feel like responding emotionally. After all, you know that tailgating is dangerous. The other person is driving in a negligent manner and increasing the odds that you will be injured in an accident. It’s very normal to feel frustrated by that behavior.
But letting your emotions take over can be problematic. For instance, some people will slam on the brakes in response to a tailgating situation. They try to cause a near miss that will scare the tailgater and get them to back up. But this is quite dangerous and often just causes a rear-end accident. It’s not something any driver should ever do. So what tactic should you use when faced by the risks caused by a tailgater?
Inspire the tailgater to pass your vehicle
Your end goal should be simple: You want the tailgater to pass your car. Once they have passed you, the danger to yourself has been reduced. It’s important to focus on this rather than your feelings of frustration with the other driver.
If you’re on the interstate, for example, you may want to use your turn signal and switch lanes. If you’re on a two-lane road with traffic coming toward you, be conscious of passing zones and reduce your speed – never by slamming on the brakes, however – when you reach those zones. This can make it easier for the tailgater to pass you, which may be what they are hoping to do all along.
In some cases, it may be difficult to get the tailgater to pass. Focus on staying calm and controlled in the way that you drive. If you see a safe place to pull over, it may be beneficial to do so. For instance, you could pull into a driveway or a parking lot, or you could go to a rest stop if you’re on the interstate.
What if these efforts aren’t enough?
Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that they’re going to pass. They may continue to tailgate you until they cause an accident and you suffer significant injuries. If something like this does happen, you need to understand your rights to seek compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and any other costs. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to get started.