Tailgating

A dangerous habit that needs to be stopped.

What is “tailgating” and why is it dangerous? Tailgating is a known dangerous habit which occurs when a driver is travelling too closely to the vehicle in front. This style of driving increases the chances of an accident, as it massively reduces the reaction time needed to avoid the possibility of a collision, should the driver in front of them brake suddenly.

Drivers are known to do this in frustration when they are travelling at a faster speed, as they feel by driving close to the vehicle in front it will encourage them to move out of their way – this would put both drivers in danger.
What is tailgating? This means when you’re not keeping a safe distance between yourself and the car in front – the safe distance is a minimum of a car’s length gap, but this can also be dependent on the speed you’re travelling at, your visibility and other road conditions.
 
Find out more about stopping distances here

What is illegal about tailgating? Tailgating falls under the “careless driving offence”, therefore this could result with you receiving a £100 fine and three penalty points on your license. However, in worsened circumstances, tailgating can lead you into having a driving ban or even a prison sentence.
 
Reasons for why drivers tailgate? We spoke previously about how drivers who tailgate, are usually ones who are travelling at fast speeds, but here are the main four reasons why they wish to carry out this careless driving manoeuvre.
  1. The Bully
    - These are drivers who use tailgating as a tactic to force motorists out of their way on the outside lane of the motorway, being careless about what the correct speed is.
  2. The inexperienced driver
    - It’s common for new drivers to not know what the correct distance is to keep and the danger this can cause for both themselves and other drivers around them.
  3. The auto-pilot
    - This is a driver who often doesn’t pay full attention to the road and just follows the trail of the traffic in front of them. This often would lead them into a lot of trouble, as by being unaware of your surroundings, it can pose a serious danger to other drivers and themselves.
  4. The impatient driver
    - For those who have bad time management skills, they find themselves in a rush and often will try to go over the speed limit to push you along, so that you cater to their needs.

What should I do if I’m being tailgated?
Here is what you SHOULD do: Remain calm, assess your speed – if you are driving too slowly in the outside lane, it is best for you to move over as soon as possible when it’s safe to do so. Also, assess your own driving habits and look up the Highway Code – this may be the reason you’re a regular victim of being tailgated.
Here is what you SHOULDN’T do: Don’t police the road to teach a tailgater a lesson, be tempted to drive completely under the speed limit, or repeatedly touch your brakes to make your point – this increases the likelihood of a collision occurring.


To conclude, to avoid being tailgated, it is best to always be aware of your surroundings when you are on your daily commute – look at the position of the road you are in and who is around you. Furthermore, remember the safe distance you should keep between yourself and the driver in front of you.

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