Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

When the driver behind you is tailgating

If the pick up truck behind you ( in a standard sedan) is tailgating and there is no traffic at all in the left lane, what do you think of slowing down to about 10 or 15 miles an hour in a 45 mile posted zone? Isn’t this dangerous adn perhaps “aggressive driving” in reverse?

A “tailgater” in my opinion is one notch away from road rage. Don’t give them a reason to focus their attention on you. Just pull off at the next intersection and wait until the nut goes on down the road. A couple of minutes of action on your part may avoid a nasty confrontation.

A “tailgater” in my opinion is one notch away from road rage.

Worth repeating.

They also have proven they lack driving skills.


Someone who is tailgating you is–at the very least–exercising very poor judgment.

If there is actually room for this person to pass you, then his tailgating goes beyond simply poor judgment and probably represents someone with anger issues or…God only knows…some other behavioral problem.

Dealing effectively with someone who has poor judgment is…difficult.
Dealing effectively with someone who may be deranged is…perhaps impossible.

As has been suggested already, the best approach is to try to remove yourself from the situation, rather than making yourself a bigger target for this person’s anger/rage/homicidal intent, etc.

Absolutely worth repeating.

We recently had an incident here in NH wherein the drive being tailgated “brakelighted” the tailgater, and the tailgater became enraged and smashed into him from the rear causing a serious accident. The person oding the “brakelighting”, the one who was being tailgated, ended up being blamed.

We all want to “stand up to” tailgaters, but missleman is correct. We do so at extreme risk. People get killed doing so.


Someday your friend just may get his BBs returned to him in the form of a 158 grain slug.

“Tailgaters----Please honk for free brake test”… Works for me…

I always increase my following distance so I will not have to slam the brakes and the slug behind will not hit me. What that means is slightly slow down without touching the brakes so the putz behind you will go around. If you want to get back to your prior speed do so slowly so the dolt wont think you jacking around. Don’t do this agressively

WHen that happens to me I put on my Hazard Lights after exhausting methods to get him to pass you. I dont usually slow down but stay at a constant speed usually following the flow of traffic…and stay in the right lane…he should pass you unless he has other motives…he may be setting you up for a smash and grab…feigning an accident to get you to pull over…Dangerous stuff…seriously

I remember I was on the Ben Franklin bridge one day in my youth…and a guy was on my ass…I waved him by but he was literally almost pushing me…I sped up…I moved over…nothing he followed me into other lanes…then I gave him a light tap on the brake…no slowing at all just lights…That pissed him off real good and he pulled along side of me shouting…and swerving like he was trying to side swipe me…I had not CLUE what this guys issue was. Then he went back behind me again…I had no idea what this dude was doing…Then he pulled along side of me shouting again…

At that point while he was close and along side of me…I made a REALLY pissed off face and made it apparent that I was reaching under my seat…that did it…He slammed on his brakes and got FAR away from me…Stupid I know but I didnt know what he was trying to do…and Im lucky I didnt get shot meself…I was like 16-17 at the time and completely IMMORTAL Scared the crap out of him and his passenger…their faces went white and he swerved severely into another lane…he almost crashed into cars in the other lanes…LOL
I still remember that like it was yesterday. Still dont know what he was trying to do…I did everything I could to give him courtesy then I snapped a bit…

But nowadays more than ever PEOPLE ARE TOTALLY OUT OF THEIR TREES MAN…YOu have no idea whos packing heat or who is just totally nuts.

I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon now…but I havent ever carried…Thats scary to me too…

I’d just keep slowing down gently until the person finally decided to pass. Jumping right to 10 or 15 MPH could cause issues. I suppose there’s some risk that a nutjob could get mad at you for slowing down, but there’s more risk in letting them ride on your bumper for miles,

Let the driver pass you when safe. The US is the only country I have been where people feel they are in control of the road and are right.

The rest of the world passes, lets folks go by, moves over etc without all the anger.

Ignore the tailgater is the best advice. You don’t know the mental state of the tailgater. Pulling over is also NOT a good idea, for the same reason. Should you HAVE to brake suddenly, the distance between you and the tailgater won’t be much so the difference in speed when (s)he hits you won’t be that great, minimizing damage and injuries. But only brake hard in an emergency.

For normal braking for stop signs/lights, curves etc., brake slowly but with your brake lights on.

Now if it a problem at night due to headlights, I have two techniques that sometimes work. One is to adjust my inside mirror to reflect light back to the driver behind me. You have to fiddle with it for awhile to find the right spot, but once you find it, they will back off. Just be careful that you don’t lose focus on the road ahead while doing this.

Another trick is to have the sudden urge to wash your windshield. The back spray will back them off as well, and it won’t do any damage. But it might piss them off so again be careful.

Best bumper sticker “I chew tobacco and spit out the window”

It isn’t a good idea to slow excessively, but easing down to the posted speed limit works well in these situations. It at least increases your following distance, which means you are less likely to have to slow or stop quickly, in which case the tailgater will probably hit you.

Tailgating actually creates two problems, not just one. When you tailgate, it not only reduces your time to react, but it also rivets your eyes to the car in front of you, reducing the chance that you will see a problem developing ahead.

I keep the same speed and turn the rear view mirror to the night position. The I don’t have to look at the moron. Sure, dummy is still there, but if he hits me, he’s at fault. I don’t see a reason to pull off the road. But if it makes you feel better, do so and use your turn signal so that the thoughtless boob behind you knows what you are doing.

You are probably holding the driver up. Loose um!

Put one of these on your rear bumper.


Thanks for your replies. I need some specific help. My driver in this case believes that only the tailgater was the problem. I was scared because in the span of about 1/2 mile, my driver slowed from 45 mph - the posted speed- to about 15 mph with the tailgater right behind. He has produced 2 articles that say to slow down ( but very gradually) if you have a tailgater. Can anyone point me to an article or “official” publication or individual who might say that my driver’s behavior was equally dangerous?

It is, I agree. Safety-wise, the best thing to do is signal right, get into the breakdown lane, and slow down to let the truck or car pass safely. You have no idea what’s going on in the mind of the person tailgating you.

Some tailgaters are simply afraid to pass or may be intending to turn right at the next intersection. I like the slow down gradually to 5 under the speed limit method. If 5 under does not do the trick then do 10 under.

I will not let a tailgater bully me into pulling over, slowing down is as much as I will do in response.

Hopefully someone who tailgates will read these replies.

The tailgater was probably the problem. Somebody slowing down to 15mph is aggravating the situation, If I were behind I would be pissed! My most common pet peeve is drivers who go the speed limit on a 2 lane road, and slow down to 10 under in no the passing zones. I have seen enough slow or unable to keep the pace drivers pull to the side and let others pass. That would be my recommendation.