Types of Tailgaters
A passive tailgater will be very close to the car in front unknowingly. This can potentially be more dangerous than an aggressive tailgater due to the fact that a passive tailgater is usually not paying enough attention on driving itself. They are making an unconscious decision to be very close to the driver in front and, usually if they notice that they are too close, they will go onto maintaining a safer distance behind. If they do notice they are not keeping to the 2 second rule and they do go onto slowing down, this is a good thing! If not, it could mean that if the person in front breaks hard it can catch this driver unaware.The passive tailgater has to be treated slightly differently to an aggressive one.
An aggressive tailgater usually knows that they are not keeping to a safe distance and this could be for many reasons. The aggressive tailgater is usually in a rush, whether it is because they are late for something or it even could be something seen as an emergency,for instance, on the way to the birth of their first child, but unfortunately this is something we will never know. There is no excuse in terms of a safety aspect for tailgating and if you are caught for this by the police you could possible receive a penalty.
How to deal with a passive tailgater
We have to assume the passive tailgater isn’t paying too much attention to upcoming changes in road conditions and may not notice as quickly as a driver paying full attention on driving if the driver infront were to break. It isn’t advisable although it is tempting to put your foot on the accelerator and speed away breaking the speed limit. You do not want to speed up reducing your stopping distance to the car in front of you to an unsafe distance. You should take your foot off of the accelerator to slow your speed down slightly, try and avoid breaking on and off as breaking sharply will be less effective in terms of notifying the driver behind. If you can, and you deem it safer to do so, signal and slow down pulling over to let this car pass. This then allows you to drive on at your own pace with peace of mind.
How to deal with an aggressive tailgater
Unfortunately, there is only one piece of consistent advice given to drivers who fall victim to aggressive tailgaters and this is to signal off, slow down safely and pull over. This advice has been given by the Institute of Advance Motorists. Usually everything that is done by you whether it is speed up trying to out run the driver or slow down, not allowing the aggressor to pass only makes the situation worse. The more that the aggressor is provoked, the more erratic the driving could be and this in turn could create further problems.
Penalties for tailgating
New laws have given the police the power to enforce an on the spot fine of £100 and three penalty points on their driving licence. This has replaced the original laws where a driver would automatically be force to go to court.
Remember! If you do notice a tailgater, be very careful as to how you react and when in doubt signal, giving plenty of warning and pull to let the vehicle pass when it is safe It is not advisable to provoke a tailgater and it is also illegal to ‘break test’ the car behind even if it is tailgating. This could potentially lead to both criminal and civil law suits as well as putting lives at risk!
Only a fool ignores the two second rule!
If anyone has had any experience with tailgaters please feel free to share!
Check out our blogs on habits picked up whilst driving!
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