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Should you speed up to avoid tailgaters?

Annoyed by slow drivers? 3 reasons you should never tailgate

We’ve all been stuck behind another vehicle traveling slower than the speed limit. Sometimes the reason is obvious like when someone’s hauling an oversized load, the driver is a mail carrier, or you’re stuck behind a large vehicle already in the slow lane on the highway. It’s easy to be understanding when there’s an obvious reason someone is traveling slowly. However, when the reason isn’t obvious, a slow driver can be irritating. Being stuck behind a slow driver on a patch of road that doesn’t allow passing is even more frustrating and causes some people to tailgate the slow driver in an attempt to get them to speed up. Although it might be your first impulse, here are 3 reasons you should never tailgate a slow driver :

1. Tailgating a slow driver is dangerous

Tailgating a slow driver is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road. Tailgating a slow driver increases the possibility of an accident. In fact, tailgating contributes to more than one-third of all crashes according to data compiled by . Say you’re driving too close to the car in front of you and they slam on their brakes to avoid a pedestrian. Upon impact your car will likely push their car forward into the pedestrian. A court might find that without the extra impact from your car, the pedestrian(s) would have been unharmed. In that case, you could be held completely responsible for the accident, including pedestrian injuries and/or fatalities caused by the other car.

2. Tailgating a slow driver won’t make them speed up

Getting frustrated with a slow driver is understandable, but tailgating a slow driver probably won’t get them to speed up. Some drivers might notice you, realize they’re going too slow, and then speed up. However, drivers who don’t pay attention to their mirrors won’t even notice you. Other drivers will see you and continue driving at the same speed. You may even end up behind someone who will slow down even more just because you’re driving too close. Hopefully, you won’t end up behind someone who will intentionally slam on their brakes to cause an accident. However, it’s always a possibility. Many tailgating accidents are caused by people who brake hard to deter tailgaters and a good portion of those accidents are fatal for the tailgater.

3. You won’t save as much time as you think

Anyone who has been tailgated by an impatient driver has laughed when they both end up at the same red light or stop sign down the road. Tailgating and speeding around slow drivers doesn’t actually save as much time as you think. Consider some simple math: If you’re traveling 10 miles at 60mph, you’ll get there in 10 minutes. If you’re stuck going 50 mph behind a slow vehicle, your 10-mile trip will take 12 minutes. That’s just two minutes longer. It seems inconvenient to be stuck driving 10 mph slower than you’d like to be driving, but it doesn’t translate to any significant time savings. It’s not worth putting your life – and the lives of others – at risk to save a couple of minutes.

Tips for avoiding a tailgating accident

You can avoid causing an accident by not tailgating other vehicles. However, when you’re the one being tailgated by another driver, there are only a few safe ways to deal with the situation . The most important rule is to never use your brakes to deter a tailgater. This may sound counterintuitive, but it’s for everyone’s safety. People who drive close to other cars are probably already irritated and even tapping your brakes could cause them to become enraged. Enraged drivers put everyone on the road at risk. Drivers who brake to deter tailgaters are likely to cause an accident. If the tailgater dies in the crash, you could be charged with vehicular homicide for using your brakes. In some states, it’s illegal even to tap your brakes. Instead of using your brakes, pull over and let the tailgater pass. If you can’t pull over, take your foot off the gas and slow down naturally, gradually, and see if that gets them to slow down or pass. If that doesn’t work and you’re already going the speed limit (or even 10 mph over), change lanes if you can. If you’re on a two-lane road, look for a shoulder or a driveway to pull into. They might have an emergency so don’t assume they’re just being rude. Let them pass and let it go. Your only objective should be to get off the road quickly and safely.

How to Handle Tailgating Drivers


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Tailgating can be very dangerous. It’s the act of following a car too closely and can result in disastrous consequences if the car in front should suddenly stops.

Tailgating is a common problem among irresponsible motorists. Although we might try to better our own driving habits, we sometimes must deal with drivers who don’t have the same honorable intentions.

Learning how to deal with tailgaters is an important part of road safety. It could easily spell the difference between a safe ride home or a multi-car pile-up on the freeway.

Here are some tips to help you deal with tailgating drivers.

Slow Down

Tailgaters are usually born with a need to overtake every car in front of them. While some tailgaters do it because of a genuine emergency (medical or otherwise), others do it out of a reckless need to reach their destination in the shortest time possible.

Speeding will only provoke more persistent speedsters. Slowing down will force tailgaters to give you the space you need to stay at a safe distance.

However, don’t drastically drop speed without warning. Doing so might end up causing the very same accident you were trying to avoid. Instead, slow down gradually. The tailgater will be forced to adjust, and if you’re lucky, pass you completely.

Let Them Pass You

The easiest way to get rid of a tailgater is to give them what they want. Most tailgaters simply want to get ahead of the car in front of them. They do this by putting unsolicited pressure on other drivers by sticking to their rear bumper.

If they look like they’re trying to get past you, make it easier for them. There’s nothing to gain by trying to match their speed. This is where slowing down can give the tailgater ample opportunity to pull alongside and eventually pass you altogether.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Persist But Don’t Provoke

When jockeying for some ample driving space, a bit of prodding is sometimes necessary. You need to send a clear message that tailgating isn’t something you’re ok with.

Hopefully, they’ll take it as a sign to back off and give you some space. However, if they don’t, simply let them overtake you.

It’s better to concede some ground than to pay for it with an accident. You must know when to tell the other driver to back off, and when to surrender your position as the lead car.

Don’t Confront Them

Many tailgaters are simply in a hurry. However, others take sadistic pleasure in getting a rise out of other drivers. Do not get baited into a confrontation with them.

While these kinds of tailgaters are the most annoying sort of offenders, they are also the most dangerous. It’s important not to give them any more reason to put your life at risk. Allow them to pass or concede your lane to them.

If they try to get your attention by yelling obscenities and making offensive gestures, keep your eyes on the road.

Tailgating is just as hazardous to the driver as it is to fellow motorists. But by keeping your wits about you and your pride in check, you’ll get home safely.

Keeping calm provides the smoothest, and most likely, safest ride, to your destination.

Should you speed up to avoid tailgaters?

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Is Tailgating in Traffic Illegal?

car tailgating

In most states, tailgating is illegal. Tailgating may be considered a misdemeanor or traffic infraction, depending on the law of the state. If convicted of tailgating, demerit points assessed on your driving record may happen. Also, you may be required to pay a fine. Some states require jail time for a tailgating ticket, even though this is uncommon. If you stay in North Carolina, for instance, a reputable NC traffic attorney can give you the details.

On the other hand, having a ticket dismissed is usually possible due to a lot of subjectivity involved in the practice. A tailgater may avoid the accumulation of points on his/her license or avoid having fines if he/she can show there were extenuating circumstances involved.

What Exactly is Tailgating?

Tailgating involves driving behind another vehicle at an unsafe distance. The drivers who are tailgating are called tailgaters. And as the name implies, these drivers would practically be extremely near to the tail end of another vehicle.

There is no exact distance between the two vehicles in most states. However, the following includes more details describing how tailgating works:

  • One vehicle is driving more closely than reasonable and prudently in this circumstance behind another vehicle
  • Alternatively, it includes one driver not leaving enough space in front of him/her, so another vehicle can safely enter that space.

Various factors determine a safe distance between two vehicles. These factors could be vehicular type, speed, road conditions, weather, and more. So, it is crucial to ensure to have enough space to use the brake as needed. More space may also be needed when there are slippery road conditions, and when the following conditions apply:

  • Driving at night
  • Driving on roads with high-speed
  • Driving on an icy or wet road
  • Driving behind a semi-trailer, or another huge vehicle
  • Driving during limited visibility due to rain, fog, dust, snow, or smoke

If Someone is Tailgating You, What Should you Do?

A reputable North Carolina traffic attorney will give you details on what to do if someone tailgates you. Otherwise, the following are the main things you should do:

Always, remain calm, regardless of what the tailgater is doing. Avoid eye contact, don’t get angry or upset, etc. even if he/she is honking the horn, flashing the lights, making gestures, or shouting at you.

When someone is driving too closely behind you, it is easy to get distracted. However, in order to stay safe, you have to keep paying attention to all potential hazards and not just the driver tailgating you.

reputable North Carolina traffic attorneys will tell you that a tailgater may look for a chance to overtake. So, keep a constant speed and give him/her the opportunity to do so. Sometimes, pulling over to the side of the road may be best.

Be aware of how other drivers on the road are driving as well as stay away from tailgaters.

Make sure you’re not doing anything that could provoke tailgating behavior.

You can use a mobile phone for emergency situations in most states. So, call the police, so he/she can either give you instructions on how to deal with the tailgater or respond on the scene.

Trying to get away from the tailgater by speeding up can cause you to go over the speed limit.

Don’t try to force the tailgater to slow down by slowing down your speed. You can risk a collision and trigger road rage when doing so.

  • Don’t Allow the Tailgater to Distracted You

Stay focused on the road and don’t look often in the rear-view mirror.

  • Allow the Tailgater to Easily Pass

It can hazardous when you make it difficult for a tailgater to pass. So, just continue to drive safely and keep a two-second gap after the tailgater overtakes.

Try not to hit your brakes repeatedly to stop the vehicle from tailgating you. You don’t want to provoke this person and possibly cause extremely dangerous road rage.

How an Attorney Can Help

For more information about tailgating, contact the Law Office of Tony Huynh today! When you want one of the best, proven NC traffic attorneys, Tony Huynh is the one to turn to. He will take on your case, work on the best solution for you, and fight for you to help win your case. Many other North Carolina Traffic lawyers don’t have a track record like his. So, contact this experience North Carolina Traffic lawyer now!

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At the Law Office of Tony Huynh, you will get my devoted professional law services at an affordable rate.

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