I drive fast, but I do not tailgate, because I know how dangerous it is. What can drivers and the auto industry do to discourage tailgating? I fantasize about mounting a huge bright sign in my rear window that would flash “STAY BACK. YOU ARE TOO CLOSE. TAILGATING KILLS!” or something like that when I turn it on.

FYI: If for some reason I am driving less than 5 mph over the speed limit, I will pull over for a tailgater, but if I am in the left lane attempting to pass, I am in no mood to pull over just to let someone else pass.

I suppose when computers take over our driving this will be resolved, but until then are there any ideas out there?


I hope you’re not one of those guys that weaves in and out of traffic on the freeway, even when everybody’s moving at a good clip

Those guys are also driving fast, and I’ve seen them cause many accidents over the years

You are aware that speed also kills, correct?

What is your hurry?

My brother also used to drive fast. He had a lot of speeding tickets and accidents, and his insurance rates were sky high for several years. When he had his son, he slowed down.

Now flag me, please

Around here it is not uncommon to get tailgated if you are going even 5mph or 10mph above the speed limit, it ridiculous. If you go the speed limit I would say at least half the time you will have someone on your tail. Some of the most ignorant people I have ever seen live here in Indiana.

If you’ve got a tailgater riding you, carefully use your left foot to ever so slightly press the brake pedal. Not enough to slow down, just enough to turn on your brake lights. If you do it right and can see the driver behind you it can actually be kind of fun.

Patience is a virtue in the driver behind you, and a vice in the driver ahead of you.

What I am about to suggest is just plain wrong, but it might be fun

Rig up a button or switch so that you can turn on your backup lights whenever you want

Can you imagine the tailgater’s look of panic when he sees your backup lights come on?

In that moment, the tailgater’s not going to be thinking rationally

He will immediately slow down, because he doesn’t want a collision

And he will probably instantly break into a cold sweat

Please, don’t play those kind of games. If they are driving poorly, that last thing you want to do is to set them off, after all they are all special and they will never admit that they may be part of a much larger problem. They will not see that they are the problem. You can’t win this one.

I used to play the brake light game. I did it when someone was way too close. He hit his brakes and swerved to the left onto the shoulder and almost went down an embankment onto the traffic on the highway below us as we crossed a bridge. I haven’t done that again. I don’t want to be responsible for another drivers death. That was about 35 years ago.

Some years ago on the way to work a chrysler had stopped quick in traffic. Obviously it had bad shocks because the car behind him had gone right under the car to about half way under. So here these two cars were, one at a 45 degree angle, and the other underneath. If someone is tailgating me, I try to allow extra slow down room in front of me so that I don’t have to make any sudden moves. The only time (or two times I guess) I’ve been hit in the rear is when I was stopped at a light and the guy and girl slid into me on the ice. Not much I could do without driving into traffic.


" . . . they are special . . ."

They’re so special that they deserve to be laying flat on their back, after I’ve broken their jaw

All kidding aside, the race track is the only appropriate place for these hothead drivers

I’ve never rigged up that switch for the backup lights, and never will, but it would be nice if the tailgater was the one sweating it out, for once

I’ll bet that some of the highway patrol officers wish they could take a swing at some of the guys they pull over, without any legal consequences


They aren’t just sweating, they are grinding their teeth every second that they are stuck behind you. The one thing I will do is pull very slowly into the next lane to the right so that they can pass me.

I have lived in various states (& countries) and seems like southern CA is the worst as far as drivers. I would be going 5 over the speed limit in the right hand lane and would still have someone riding my rear end so close I can count their eyelashes. Usually they want to get off the fwy 2-4 miles ahead and do not want to be bothered changing lanes to pass me. They also do not see the semi in front of me.

Same drivers would never let you merge on the fwy. As far as they are concerned, you did not have any business getting out of your house today.

You’ll get tailgated more often in the left (fast) lane of multi-lane roads. So one way to avoid being tailgated is to minimize the time you are in the fast lane. Use it to pass a slower car, then quickly move back into another lane.

I’ve driven in LA, San Diego, and DC/Baltimore, and DC/Baltimore is far worse as far as aggressive driving is concerned.

I would think So. California and the DC area would be heavily populated with narcisistic personalities which might explain why they would think they are the only important ones on the road.

I agree with Joseph M. Don’t play brake pedal games. Its foolish.
If you must get rid of them then simply increase your following distance. What that means is to expand the distance between you and the driver ahead of you. Do this by slowing down but don’t apply the brakes. Do this over a long distance, not suddenly. If you use this method then you will be rid of the tailgater and in a safe matter.

Two instances in the last two years while driving and being tailgated by tractor trailer rigs have been frustrating experiences. They were definitely “Duel” experiences.

There is a 55 mph ten mile two lane open access road we frequently drive that has it’s share of idiots. I was being tailgated by tractor trailer rigs each time at 60 to 65 mph ( yes, I was driving as much as 10 mph faster ). The first opportunity to pull over was on a hill passing lane. I slowed down to 45 but in each case, the trucks coundn’t pass going up hill. There was no break down lane. After we crested, it started all over again. We went miles with my co pilot screaming " we are all going to die" in one ear and a tractor trailer rig less then ten feet away at 65 mph. In each case, I eventually manage to find a breakdown lane safe enough to slow down and wave the idiot by. The idiot still can’t pass anyone else. It’s not easy as the road has open access and just dodging into a break down lane willy nilly can easily get you into a situation with drivers pulling out from drive ways and side streets where at 60 mph, and a semi on your tail can easily end your day.

My usual techniques with cars are to slow down and pull over when possible, or if I can’t, either put my flashers on while slowing way down ( a legal, safe and practical use for them IMO) or as a last resort, turn on my right blinker. The right blinker ( the illegal method) has worked well as they either think you will turn or eventually are some old codger they should avoid. But, I can only do this when driving alone. And, cars are much easier to deal with then trucks doing this.

Funny, the larger the vehicle I drive ( dump trucks especially) the less I am bother by them. One time, I slowed down at a stop light and started to raise the bed…it was empty (though he couldn’t see) but the tail gater go the idea. Btw, it doesn’t matter the gender. Both seem to be aptly represented.

I would love to be able to install flashing blue lights in the rear window and have them pee their pants when you turn them on.

I tend to start tapping brakes when being tail gated (especially when I was on my moped). If another car ahead of me is driving slower I’ll start hitting them harder (to hopefully send the signal of SLOW DOWN) and if possible change lanes. I remember one day a young woman was behind me coming down hill, I began slowing down for a red light and thought I was about to get a new rear bumper, came close to rear ending me.

When I owned my POS Volvo, the switch for the backup lights failed, and replacing the switch meant dropping the transmission in order to access it. So, my mechanic simply installed a toggle switch for my backup lights. This came in very handy when I was loading or unloading the trunk at night, and I also used it on several occasions when somebody was driving behind me with their high beam lights on.

I never had to use those backup lights to deter tailgaters because–to be honest with you–I don’t recall that many people tailgating, back in the '70s when I owned that car. IMHO, the problem seems to be growing at a geometric rate, and I think that it started to become much worse about 10-15 years ago.


I totally agree with you, I sure think its gotten much worse in the past 10 years. I never remember tailgating being so common. Sounds crazy, but it seems much less likely to get a ticket these days, I think police are stretched thin.