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How should you respond when someone tailgates you?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Personal Injury

When a driver fails to maintain a safe following distance, you may be tempted to warn them to stop by braking or using hand signals. However, these moves may be dangerous, as they can distract you.

You can deal with a tailgater safely. Here is how you can do this:

Stay calm

Consider staying calm while looking for the best ways to respond. Becoming angry can encourage you to engage in risky behaviors. Thus, even though the tailgater is in the wrong, try as much as you can to remain calm.

Note that the tailgater may honk their horn, flash their lights or make gestures. You may want to respond accordingly, but this can escalate the situation. 

Don’t increase your speed

Accelerating to increase the distance between you and the tailgater seems logical. However, the tailgater may accelerate as well. Besides, speeding puts you in danger. Therefore, regardless of their aggressiveness, maintain your speed while you find a safe space to give them way.

Let them pass 

If you are on a multi-lane road, consider changing lanes – move into the right lane so the tailgater can pass on the left. If you cannot change lanes, perhaps you are on a single-lane road, or the tailgater refuses to pass despite giving them way, find a safe spot to stop, which can be an open and well-lit parking lot or gas station. If possible, avoid stopping on the shoulder, as this can be dangerous if you don’t observe certain safety measures, especially at night.

Refusing to give the tailgater way when you have space to do so could lead to more aggressive driving. 

If a tailgater injures you, get more information about your options and rights to know the steps to take.