Every driver has been there: For no apparent reason, a tailgater starts following way too close to the back bumper of your car. Maybe they’re in a hurry. Maybe they’re an aggressive driver and this is simply how they always choose to drive. Maybe they’re oblivious and just don’t realize they’re too close for it to be safe.
No matter why it’s happening, you have to decide what you’re going to do. All you want to do is stay safe and get to your destination. What should you do about that tailgater?
Tips to help you stay safe when another driver is too close
While every situation on the road is unique and you need to decide what is best for you in your specific situation, here are a few tips that will generally take care of the problem:
- Let them pass. This is likely all they want. Do it by changing lanes on the interstate, for instance, or by slowing down in a passing zone so they can easily get by. Don’t let pride be an issue. Just focus on staying safe and let them go by to drive dangerously on their own.
- Before slowing, tap your brakes. Do not “brake check” the tailgater by hitting the brakes aggressively. Just tap them lightly so that your brake lights turn on, giving them a warning that you’re about to slow down. They may increase the following distance.
- Pullover if you must. Sometimes, nothing seems to work. You slow down, and they don’t pass. You change lanes, but they keep following. If you have to, just find a safe place to pull to the side of the road. Let them go by and then merge back into traffic.
Some of these tips may feel inconvenient, and they are. But they are all far better than getting into an accident that could have been avoided.
Know what to do when an accident happens
If a tailgater does cause an accident, that is not your fault. Make sure you know how to seek financial compensation for your injuries and other losses. An experienced attorney can advocate for your rights against the insurance company involved.