Tailgating or following too closely in traffic is not only dangerous, but also, extremely aggravating.
“Stay off my tail” will give a brief definition of following too closely, the dangers associated, how to handle a tailgater and provide safety reminders.
There is nothing more annoying to me, as I am driving along, then to look in my rear view mirror having to look at a chubby faced person, sporting a blank stare, driving a half a car length behind me at 65 mph on the freeway.
I find myself talking to the mirror, maybe even loudly; throwing up my arms as if that is going to help the situation. I look around, yell some more at the mirror and start to talk to myself. The tailgater soon changes lanes, passes me up and drives off in the sunset having no idea I even exist, yet my day is now ruined and I am, oh so hyped up, on adrenalin. I am sure you know what I am saying.
Following too close
Every State has a following too close law. The definition of “following to close” is, “the driver of a motor vehicle follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway”. (Source: California Vehicle Code Section 21703)
Safety reminders: A good rule of thumb is to follow the car in front of you at a distance of a one-car length for every 10 mph you are traveling. Meanings, if you are driving 65 mph, you should be six and a half car lengths behind that car in front of you.
Who are tailgaters?
There are many reasons people tailgate. They could be daydreaming, talking on their cell phone, not paying attention, distracted, overly confident in their driving abilities, in a hurry or they are a bully.
Whatever the reason, tailgaters are dangerous and given an emergency-situation, where they would have to react quickly, the outcome would certainly be catastrophic.
Tailgating is a moving violation and when the Police stop and issue a citation, it will go against your driving record.
How to deal with a tailgater
The best way to deal with a tailgater is, simply get out of his way. Change lanes or pull over and let him pass.
Safety reminders: tapping your brakes or slowing down may wake the person up out of their dream state but it may also create and road rage situation. You will have to assess the situation and be able to tell whom you are dealing with.
Are you the problem?
If someone is following you, too closely it may be your fault. Check your speed. Are you going too slowly? Are you day dreaming or not paying attention? Are you too stubborn to allow anyone to pass you because you are traveling the posted speed limit and you are going to make darn sure everyone else obeys the law?
Safety reminders: snap out of it, and correct the problem.
Many accidents can be avoided if we just slow down, pay attention, respect other drivers and drive safely.
“Stay off my tail” goes both ways and so it is up to each of us to check ourselves, check our distance between cars and enjoy a careful ride down the road.
Article also posted on Triond by Scott Hallock