How to Stay Safe When Someone is Tailgating You

Don't tailgate sign

Over 100 million drivers in America intentionally tailgate other drivers, according to a report by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. For most people, these numbers are not surprising. Regardless of how common tailgating is, it does not change the fact that it is dangerous for everyone involved. Learn more about what to do when someone is tailgating you below.

Why is it tempting to respond in anger to a tailgater?

Being tailgated is frightening. You are not in control of whether the person behind you runs in to you. If traffic in front of you suddenly slows, the tailgating driver behind you might crash into you.

This lack of control can make even the most level-headed driver angry; however, responding in anger can be just like pouring gasoline on a fire. Instead, use your SMARTS and consider the following ways to respond to a tailgater.


S: Gradually speed up if you are driving too slowly in the lane, or if you cannot change lanes to let the tailgating driver pass you. Do not drive faster than you feel is safe. If you do not feel it is safe to drive the speed of the flow of traffic, you should drive in the slow lane or on another road.

M: Move over. Gradually slow down and change lanes so the tailgater can get around you. Do not slam on your brakes or swerve into the next lane.

A: Be attentive. Watch for drivers behind you who are driving faster than you are. Change lanes safely so the faster vehicle can safely continue past you. This way, you can prevent the person from tailgating you in the first place.

R: Realize there may be a legitimate reason for the other driver traveling at a fast speed. There may be a medical emergency or there may be some other urgent personal matter. Most of us have been in an urgent situation at some point in our lives. When you think of it this way, it is easier to brush it off and not get upset.

T: Have tunnel vision. If a tailgater is simply being rude, exercise tunnel vision. Do not make eye contact with the tailgating driver. Do not yell or gesture or drive aggressively. Get out of the way and let the driver go past you. The farther away the driver gets, the better.

S: Most importantly, stay calm. While it is easy to allow the tailgating driver scare, frustrate, or anger you, yelling at the driver or making obscene gestures will just increase your risk of an accident or road rage confrontation.

Even if you do everything you can to avoid a tailgating driver, accidents happen. If you have been injured in an accident involving a tailgating driver on Long Island, the car accident lawyers at Goldstein & Bashner can determine if you have a claim and help you throughout the process.

Call us today at 516-874-4362 to schedule your free consultation.

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