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How to handle someone tailgating you

Tailgating is one of the chief sources of not-at-fault accidents; when someone is continually driving unsafely close to the car in front, they are unable to break efficiently, resulting in a car accident. As the driver in front, driving normally and adhering to the road rules, being followed by a tailgater can be a scary, unnerving experience. We describe exactly what to do, and what to avoid, when a tailgater appears in your rear vision mirror, helping you avoid being the victim of a not-at-fault accident.

Don’t hit the breaks unnecessarily

Though you may experience the temptation to slow down once you see a car closely following behind you, braking is a sure way to provoke a not-at-fault accident. Most people feel nervous and intimidated by this style of driving, and decelerating is a natural instinct, especially on high-speed roads like highways and multi-lane roads. When approaching the traffic lights, brake gently, avoiding hard stopping in a hurry or slamming on the brakes for any reason.

Don’t speed up

What the driver behind you wants you to do is speed up or change lanes, and the latter we address in the next point. Though increasing your speed will satisfy their urge, and more than likely prevent any not-at-fault car accidents, the person behind isn’t at fault if you exceed the speed limit. Whether caught by nearby police or fixed traffic cameras, you can’t blame a tailgater for your increased speed. Speeding is incredibly dangerous; you’re likely to cause another type of accident as a result of your haste or put yourself in a compromising position.

Change lanes

As we mentioned, the tailgater wants you to move out of their way, and most people are happy to oblige. When it’s safe to do, move into another lane, allowing the car behind to speed past you. Tailgating is extremely dangerous, and the further away you can be from reckless drivers, the safer your driving experiences will be. Additionally, if you’re a slow driver by nature, avoid driving in the right-hand lane of a multi-lane road; these are designated for faster cars who want to pass and overtake.

Stay calm

One of the most detrimental actions you can take is panic when confronted with a tailgater; though a highly stressful experience, exacerbated anxiety will cause you to drive erratically, and potentially put yourself in further harm’s way. Remain as calm as possible by removing any distractions, such as loud music or noise from open windows, as these can put you off your driving easily.