Tailgating is a very dangerous driving practice that motorists do for a variety of reasons. Some motorists are in a hurry to get somewhere, while others don't like adjusting their speed to accommodate the driver ahead of them. Sometimes drivers tailgate without realizing it because they are accustomed to short following distances.
Regardless of why it is done, tailgating is very dangerous and causes many rear end collisions on the road every year. Tailgating is considered to be a form of aggressive driving, which can result in a fine and higher auto insurance premiums.
Tailgating is dangerous for two reasons. The first is that it doesn't allow enough distance for slowing down or making evasive maneuvers in the event of a traffic emergency. The second reason is that the tailgater focuses too much attention on the car in front of him at the expense of the traffic situation further ahead. A traffic incident can catch the tailgater completely by surprise.
How to Tell if You are Tailgating
Use the three second rule to determine a safe following distance behind the car in front of you. When the car in front passes a landmark, count the number of seconds it takes for you to pass by the same landmark. That time should be at least three seconds. If the roads are wet, the following distance should be doubled. In snowy conditions, allow ten seconds or more.
What to Do if You are Being Tailgated
If you are on a multilane highway, signal and move into a different lane. Avoid using the left lane except when passing. If moving into another lane isn't feasible, allow extra space in front of you so that you won't have to brake hard if a traffic incident happens ahead of you.
If you aren't on a multilane road, drive slightly to the right so that the tailgater can get a better view of the oncoming traffic. This makes it easier for him to pass you safely. Drive at a constant speed so that he can estimate the passing distance required. If there is a safe spot to do so, pull over and let the tailgater pass.
It is important not to allow yourself to get angry. Rude gestures can trigger aggressive responses. Hitting your brakes and other provocative maneuvers are dangerous and are a form of aggressive driving. It's not your place to teach him a lesson.
Whether you are in a rush or if the car ahead is driving too slowly, maintain a safe driving distance and don't be a tailgater. If you are being tailgated, be accommodating when possible, remain calm and don't be a vigilante driver.
Your safety is our priority. Contact The Mike Dyer Agency for more information on auto insurance.