How to Handle Tailgaters

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Tristar Driving is committed to safe driving for life and we are equally committed to the education of our pupils in this regard.

During my Driving lessons in Alsager & in Stoke on Trent, it’s frequently obvious when a tailgating driver is affecting my pupils’ confidence.

Perhaps the following tips will reassure the learner and perhaps, also, inform the would-be tailgater.

Remain calm! Losing your cool means losing control, and losing control of your vehicle is the last thing you want to do. Deep breaths are a big help. Focus on your situation, and not on the radio or your passengers.


Consider your own judgment of what is too close. Drivers who are accustomed to driving in urban areas tend to be more comfortable driving closer to other cars that drivers from rural areas where traffic is generally less dense. It could be your judgment of the situation that is causing you stress rather than the reality of distance between cars and the other driver may not agree that they are tailgating. The important goal is to relief stress for both drivers since either driver is subject to “road rage” behavior based on their individual perception of the situation.


Always know your local driving laws. Tailgating is against the law, as is causing an accident by driving into someone’s back bumper. Whist you don’t want to be in an accident, the aggressive driver behind you will also know the outcome if they hit you, and will want to avoid doing so.


Pull over and allow the vehicle behind you to pass, if it is safe to do so. This is always the most rapid way of getting rid of a tailgater. If the car behind you is catching up, there’s a good chance the driver wants to go faster. If it’s safe to do so, let him/her pass.


If possible, slow slightly and move away from the center of the road; allowing the tailgater to pass safely. Normally a tailgater just wants to drive faster, so they will pass and leave you alone.


Above all else, do not be a source of the problem. If you cannot switch lanes for any reason, various laws of physics are going to prevent the tailgater from driving through you. However, if you’re matching speed with a vehicle beside you, perhaps you should consider slowing down and switching lanes. Diffusing the dangerous situation is far more advantageous than bickering over the speed limit.


[to be continued]


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