Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Tailgating

Question: How can I get someone to stop tailgating me?

Answer: Tailgaters are frustrating and dangerous but there is really nothing a driver can do to make them stop tailgating! We can’t control another driver’s behavior, we can only take actions to remove ourselves from the dangerous situation.

First off, don’t “brake check” them; hitting your brakes could cause a crash! If someone is tailgating you, the best and quickest action to take is to change lanes and let the tailgater pass. It’s frustrating that the tailgater can’t figure that out himself but the safe, responsible driver is usually the one that has to move over.

If, for any reason, you can’t move over, slow down, not by hitting the brakes but by simply taking your foot off the gas and letting the car gradually slow on its own. This will do one of two things, it will either cause the tailgater to move over into another lane or it can put you in a position relative to other traffic where you can move over.

If you are on a narrow, two lane road with no chance for changing lanes and no safe passing zones for the tailgater to pass, you may have to consider turning off the road at the earliest opportunity and then reentering after the tailgater has passed. Again, it’s frustrating to have to do that but taking the time to remove yourself from the dangerous situation is the safest thing to do, even if you have to leave the roadway to do it.

Remember that the left lane is the passing lane and you should only use the left lane if you are passing another vehicle or preparing to make a left turn. Several states have laws now that can result in a ticket for obstructing traffic for a driver who continues to occupy the left lane when traffic is building up behind.