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Fucking Tailgaters
December 13, 2012 8:45 AM   Subscribe

How do I deal with or avoid being tailgated? Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated.

A month ago I started a new job in a small town about 30 minutes away from where I live. There's really only one route I can take to work without doubling my commute. For the most part it's a pleasant drive, but the last ten miles have become torture for me.

This stretch of road is single lane, hilly and curvy with a speed limit of 65 and very few passing zones. I drive a little Hyundai and set my cruise control at what I feel is a reasonable 70mph. There are very few other cars on the road, yet almost every other day I end up being aggressively followed by other vehicles. Usually it's a pick up truck or an SUV tailgating me.

I don't feel safe driving any faster and there are very few places I could safely pull off to the side to let cars pass. I've tried tapping my breaks, turning my headlights on and off (so it looks like I'm tapping my breaks), speeding up a little bit and then slowing down - which only results in them following closer. Leaving for work earlier doesn't seem to make a difference. It is really stressing me out, to a point where I would just take the longer route if I could afford the gas.

So how should I handle this?
posted by galvanized unicorn to Travel & Transportation (53 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
As helpful as this may be (or not): You can't control other people. Your best approach is to try not to worry about this. Drive safely and courteously and let the other drivers deal with in their own way.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:50 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I would discuss the situation with local law enforcement authorities and see what they say. Maybe they need to increase their patrols to enforce tailgating laws.
posted by Dansaman at 8:51 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't antagonize the other drivers by tapping your breaks. Don't stress about them, don't speed up.

When you can, pull over and let them pass.

If you like print an easily readable sign and put it in the window:

Please Don't Tailgate. My Hamsters are running at full speed.

A sign, rather than a bumper sticker, it acknowledges that you know that others may feel comfortable going faster, you don't.

If it persists, call the Highway Patrol and ask them for their advice or see if they can hang out on that stretch of road to catch these folks in the act.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:51 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


My experience is that there is little you can do to change the behavior of an idiot that tailgates, unless you can go faster than they dare to go, and what have you gained in that, other than put yourself at risk. Also, going 70 mph on a 65mph "hilly and curvy" road is already a risk.

My approach when tailgated in my car is to begin to slow down, and continue to do so until they get the point and back off, or they get frustrated and pass me, if I'm on the Harley I will slow down and pull off on the shoulder and let them by.
posted by HuronBob at 8:52 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Alternative sign: "The closer you tailgate, the slower I'll drive. Give me space."
posted by Dansaman at 8:53 AM on December 13, 2012 [11 favorites]


You say there are "very few passing zones"; but there are apparently some, at least. It's in your best interest to know where those zones are, so you can slow down (<60 mph) as you're approaching those zones, and inspire these people to get around you once it's possible. You don't have to pull over, but help them pass you.
posted by aimedwander at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


You probably need less space than you think to allow the car behind you to pass -- even just slowing and sort of leaning your car onto the curb will allow enough clearance. That way they can zoom ahead and you can continue your completely reasonable drive, stress-free.
posted by kate blank at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In this situation, I would slow down to 60 mph if someone was tailgating me, which is a very reasonable speed to be going on a road that has a 65 mph speed limit. This might help them understand that tailgating is not going to help them get there faster, but in fact the opposite. If they back off, I'd speed back up to what I was comfortable with.
posted by doomtop at 8:56 AM on December 13, 2012


When I am tailgated I tend to take my foot off the gas and let my car slow down gradually. This normally results in the person following closer for a few seconds, and then dropping back. It's less dangerous than tapping your brakes, but it does tend to piss some people off quite a bit.
posted by OmieWise at 8:57 AM on December 13, 2012 [10 favorites]


Drive at 70mph and ignore tailgaters. If a tailgater is particularly aggressive or causing you some inordinate amount of stress, turn on your blinkers, take your time slowing down, and make an emergency stop on the side of the road to let him pass then sit on his ass for 10 miles, honking and high-beaming.

Seriously though, don't do that last part.
posted by Behemoth at 8:59 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'd ignore them. The last thing you want is to be in an accident because you were distracted by the idiot behind you.
posted by COD at 9:01 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's road bullying. The best way to deal with bullies, when you can, is ignore them. Seriously, drive as you wish - lawfully, of course -- and let them gnash their teeth. Alternately, just act as if they were behaving rationally and pull over a bit in or near passing areas to suggest they pass.

I'd notify police, with license plate numbers, if warranted by very aggressive driving. But otherwise I wouldn't engage.
posted by bearwife at 9:03 AM on December 13, 2012


When I am tailgated I tend to take my foot off the gas and let my car slow down gradually.

This is generally what I do as well (though my commute is on a multilane freeway that has lots of places for faster traffic to pass/slower traffic to move over).

Once, though, when my car was having mechanical troubles and I just couldn't get up to the speed everyone wanted me to be at, I turned on my hazards and was mostly left alone and not tailgated, so try that?
posted by rtha at 9:04 AM on December 13, 2012


Tailgating is frustrating as hell, but in order to remain safe you must keep your eyes and attention ahead of you. In aggressive tailgating situations I slow down gradually so there is even more room ahead of me (as I now must keep two cars worth of reaction time ahead of me) until they go around or back off.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:04 AM on December 13, 2012


I throw on my hazard lights!

Continue driving 70mph. When they drop back enough, turn off hazzards.

If they tailgate again, maintain speed and chuck your hazzards back on.

This is my FAVORITE trick. Tailgaters are dangerous!! Especially when you are in smaller car.

They usually get the picture on the second or third go. No worries about having to repeat the action if you are on or above the speed limit. Really.
posted by jbenben at 9:07 AM on December 13, 2012 [9 favorites]


[Folks please make constructive and helpful answers that are directed towards the OP. Also note question is not "how do I get back at tailgaters" but rather how to deal with them. Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:08 AM on December 13, 2012


Also I want to point out that cruise control is not for curvy, hilly roads -- it's for relatively straight highways where you don't need to change your speed.

But I agree with the others who say to ignore. What you're doing right now (flashing brakes and such) is antagonizing them and probably making it worse. If you deal with an actual case of road rage, you could be setting yourself up to get rear-ended. The best thing you can do is stay around the speed you're comfortable at, don't antagonize, and make it easy for them to pass you when you reach a passing zone.

[There's nothing more frustrating than the person who speeds up just as you (car behind you, in this case) reaches that one point in 5 miles where you might be able to get past them. This is just another way to antagonize people.]
posted by DoubleLune at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is going to sound a little cheesy, but maybe get one of those "Baby on Board" signs? That should give pause to at least one or two of the folks driving smallpenismobiles. Other than that, I nth the hazard lights suggestions.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:11 AM on December 13, 2012


Going any faster that your already-over-the-limit speed would NOT be safe --- you're already pushing the limits of safety, and frankly tailgaters would probably just speed up along with you and remain on your tail.

Like others above, I don't brake, I just let my speed gradually reduce a bit, then let them zoom around as soon as possible --- and the closer they get the slower I'll go, because that way when/if they ram me? It'll at least be at a slower speed. Don't make any sudden moves, never slam on the brakes; and make sure to signal all lane changes/turns WELL in advance.

Oh yeah: if they're really close, try your windshield wipers --- some of the fluid will go over your car's roof onto them.
posted by easily confused at 9:15 AM on December 13, 2012


Yes, ignoring is best--and I also wanted to throw in that it's possible the people tailgating don't perceive themselves as being annoyed or aggressive. You're obviously in a better position to judge this because you're there, but I have found that I tend to overestimate how closely someone is following me when I'm driving my short little Honda Civic and an SUV or tall truck comes up behind me. It's something about how the headlights are located higher and their vehicle blocks out more of the sky/background. I will get kind of stressed about it when checking my mirrors, and then when I turn to check my blind spot and get over into another lane, I'll realize that they're actually not following me as closely as I thought they were.

Anyway, just something that might help you relax a little bit--it definitely makes it more stressful to assume that the people behind you are angry, annoyed, or otherwise being aggressive if it's possible that they're just lost in their own world and getting a little too close without really meaning anything by it.
posted by iminurmefi at 9:19 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I coast and gradually drop in speed for tailgaters. They usually get it. In the couple cases where someone has been really aggressive and downright unsafe, I'll phone them in as a drunk driver. Worried you'll be late for work, so you're tailgating me and driving like an asshole? Well, now you're going to be really late, jerk.
posted by xedrik at 9:22 AM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I get this all the time (which is weird, 'cause it only takes five minutes to get from any point A to point B where I live), and I find that if slowing down to a crawl doesn't work, then I just go below speed limit and flip the little thing on the rear-view mirror so that I can't see how close they are, which reduces the stress of something over which I have no control. I still check my side mirrors for safety, but it's not as in-my-face as the rear view mirror.
posted by mireille at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


They either don't know they are driving dangerously, or they don't care. You won't impress them with brake lights. Don't try to outrun them. Don't play speed/slow games. When you come to a suitable place, slow down in advance, and let them pass. This way when your tail lights come on, you are actually braking--don't do this suddenly, because the tailgater may be lollygagging and not react in time to keep from hitting you.

Quite frankly I would rather this type of driver be in front of me--way way in front--so I would try to create a safe opportunity for him to get there. Gradually slowing your vehicle on a winding mountain road is not necessarily a good idea. You say the speed limit is 65. Okay, slow to 60 as you approach a passing lane. If it amounts to a short pullout, then pull out. If it's a regular three-lane set up (passing lane in the middle), then slow to 55 if you need to. Don't forget to use your turn signal. Don't use your 4-way flashers. This is not what they are for.

Most important tactic you can use is to get your head right. Letting him piss you off is not the right mind set. Pissing him off isn't going to work. BTW--putting cute signs on the rear of your vehicle may only encourage him to get close enough to read them. Calling the highway patrol for aggressive tailgaters is a good idea, but....here in Oregon you must have a hands-free set up to use a cell phone in your car, so be mindful of the local regs. The tailgater won't get a ticket unless the two of you happen upon a highway patrolman who notices what's happening.

When I drove big trucks I sometimes would ask another driver (on the CB) if I could scrape the tailgater off, and if he consented, I would pass the other truck, and when he signaled with his lights, I would slip back into the right lane, leaving him no room to follow. You can't do this with four-wheelers, but I am warmed by the memory, so I thought I would mention it.

Be happy that you are not him. You'll be pissed off now and then by tailgaters, but he has to drive behind slow drivers all the time, forever, and it eats him up.
posted by mule98J at 9:28 AM on December 13, 2012 [7 favorites]


I hate this too. I'm really working on creating less anger on the road - for me and everyone else (I've had a problem with it). So I agree with all those who say slow down and move over to indicate that people can pass. Just let them move on with their day, rather than getting into some protracted and imperfect attempt to communicate with them using the limited tools at your disposal.
posted by Miko at 9:33 AM on December 13, 2012


Aggressive or not (at first), tapping your brakes or speeding up/slowing down will just change a "I wish this person were driving faster" situation into an "why is this idiot driving like that" situation.

Honestly, the best things you can do are:

1. Resist the temptation to speed up faster than you're comfortable with.
2. Continue using your cruise control.
3. Avoid provoking the person through intentional attempts at signaling "back off" or similar, because they'll just do it more.
4. Don't worry about unintentionally provoking them (that is, don't avoid touching your brakes for a legitimate reason just because you're afraid they'll think you're signaling them.)
5. If there is a turnout, use it when it shows up.
6. If there is a passing zone, and they try to pass you, slow down a little bit (5mph at most) to increase their chances of passing safely.

That's it. Also note that some people simply don't realize how big and imposing their trucks look in your mirror, or don't care, so just drive predictably and let them by when you can.
posted by davejay at 9:34 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In a defensive driving course one time, the instructor -- a real common-sense sort of guy, who I really respected -- advised hazard lights for tailgaters, that it can break into their stupidity long enough for them to come to awareness of the foolishness.

He was strongly against hitting the brakes, esp hitting them hard, as the tail-gater is living in an emotional state, and not in a rational state of mind at all, and it'd just be antagonizing.

I'm normally driving fast enough to avoid it but not always -- there's always someone wants to go faster, right -- and I go for the flashers first, but then I do slow it down, to where I'm driving 25 miles an hour, 30, whatever, if they don't go around. But it really is dangerous, taunting someone in an already emotional state of mind; it's a fools game and one I don't play until pushed hard, way better to pull over. Overall, flashers are best I think, then pull over ASAP.

You don't say what you're driving but I'd bet it's a smaller vehicle; I own a pickup, no-one ever really messes with me and I'm almost positive it's because I'm in a relatively large vehicle; my last sweetie had a Saturn and people would be right on my tail when I drove it, it was like alternate universes.

I''m not saying to buy a different vehicle, just saying that's what I have observed.
posted by dancestoblue at 9:37 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


I, like jbenben, put on my hazard blinkers. I don't slow down or speed up in response to tailgaters, I just put on the blinkers. It usually works. If it doesn't, I don't think you are out of line to take a license plate and give local law enforcement a call. Tailgating is dangerous and against the law. Call them every time it happens and maybe something can be done about it.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:42 AM on December 13, 2012


It took me 20 years of driving, but I have finally learned to ignore tailgaters. The only thing I do differently is that I will leave more space in front of me if there are cars ahead of me the closer the tailgater gets. Otherwise, I ignore them.

If it makes the OP feel any better, I drive a stretch of road, THREE lanes wide, and I always get people tailgating me when the other two lanes are completely free of traffic! If I change lanes, so do they, if I speed up, so do they, etc. People are "followers", it seems, so they just find someone to sit behind and follow. Then there are bullies, as mentioned above.
posted by TinWhistle at 9:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


Tailgating is my #1 pet peeve on the highway. I agree with many of the statements above: Some people are just clueless, not aggressive; some people are not as close to you as you they "feel"; maintain a consistent speed, but slow down prior to a passing zone, giving them the option to pass.

On top of all that, one thing you might try for the sake of your own stress: flip your rear-view mirror to the "night" setting, even in daytime. You will still be able to see traffic behind you, but it will not look as threatening. That may sound kind of like putting yourself in denial, but you really do need to focus on what's ahead of you and not let yourself get "pushed."
posted by The Deej at 9:43 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I try to tell myself that it's not because people are jerks, but because they're thinking of other things and don't realize how close they are. Or, I tell myself that they we have an automotive disagreement about appropriate personal space.

And then I flip the rear view mirror into a position so that I can't see them and try to pretend they're not there (if I'm in a position to pull over, I do, though.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:45 AM on December 13, 2012


I slow down. You are supposed to keep 3 seconds of distance between you and the car in front for safe stopping so I slow down so that they are roughly that distance behind me. I used to tap the brakes but worried the idiots would rear end me so I now just ever so gradually slow down. I have gotten down to 25km an hour in a 60km zone before the idiot behind me got the hint and backed off.

I figure 2 things, I am not going to ignore them as an idiot that tailgates is not going to be a safe driver and I'll be the one hit if things go wrong and that if I go slow enough they can overtake and get the hell out of my hair. I don't get road rage but I do inspire it in others.

Also if you honk me at an intersection the second the light goes green I will crawl though that crossing so slowly you'll see glaciers overtaking me.
posted by wwax at 9:52 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I live in a rural area and this happens to me a lot. It is pretty stressful! I look out for places that are safe to pull over. You can slow down and put your blinker on to indicate that's what you're doing. Like earlier commenters have said, you don't need to pull fully off the road. It's enough to pull over slightly to indicate you want the other person to pass you.

I have also noticed that it's really easy for me to inadvertently start tailgating a slower driver, when I come up on them much quickly than I am expecting. I tend to back off as soon as I realize it, and have noticed that some people who I initially think are jerky tailgaters do that too. Maybe that is happening with the people behind you too?

So basically, like other people have said, keep your cool, don't feel pressured into going faster than you're comfortable with, and pull over if and when it's safe to do so.
posted by apricot at 9:56 AM on December 13, 2012


My experience agrees with dancestoblue. I had to switch from my grand prix to a high sitting full size pickup and the tailgating diminished. My theory is that in vehicle to vehicle relationships, size does matter. Primitive stuff.
posted by JohnR at 10:02 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the UK, we're taught to slow down for tailgaters. It's the only thing you can do.

If they don't overtake, but instead get more aggressive, then they're no longer a tailgater and taking their license number is the next step, if you can.
posted by tel3path at 10:27 AM on December 13, 2012


Further to JohnR's comment, the lower you are to the road (say behind the wheel of a litle Hyundai), the faster you feel you are traveling. Conversely, the higher up you are (say, behind the wheel of a full sized pickup or SUV), the slower you feel you are traveling.

Relative experience of speed is probably a factor. More primitive stuff.
posted by notyou at 10:43 AM on December 13, 2012


The thing about ignoring tailgaters is that they are actually putting you in danger by riding so close to you. What if something happened in front of you that made you slam on your brakes, like a deer jumped out or someone got into an accident or a box fell off a truck in front of you or something? You'd either hit whatever it was or get rear-ended by the asshole who was tailgating you. The nightmare scenario would be if a kid ran out into the road and you didn't brake hard enough because you were subconsciously trying to avoid getting rear-ended and you ran the kid over.

Besides, being tailgated can be incredibly stressful and it's hard to just will that stress away. Being stressed out by having like a huge SUV riding a few inches off your bumper makes you a worse driver and that in itself is dangerous.

You do need a way to deal with tailgaters, and I think there is some good advice above. What I usually do if I have a really recalcitrant tailgater on my ass and no way to get out of their stupid way is I just let my foot off the gas (as others have suggested) and gradually slow way, way down, as slow as it takes for them to either back off or go around me. If someone was being a huge jerkwad I would feel totally OK about gradually slowing all the way down to like 30 if that's what it took to get them off my ass. Eventually they will get so frustrated by your slowness that they will go around you and fly off in a huge cloud of pointless machismo and you won't need to think about their stupid ass anymore. If there's any space for you to move a bit to the right to give them extra space, this will help because it will make them go around you sooner.

By the way, 70mph in a one-lane 65mph area is totally reasonable and tailgaters are total ass-faces for riding you there. I mean, tailgating is a crappy thing to do in general but seriously, you're going at a totally reasonable speed that nobody should be complaining about. If they're too late to make it to where they're going at that speed on that road, it's their own stupid fault. Still, you need a way to get them off your butt and slowing down will almost always do the trick.
posted by Scientist at 10:50 AM on December 13, 2012 [6 favorites]


When the passing zone is coming up, you might want to hit the turn signal to indicate that yes, you are going to get over and slow down. Because, you might be surprised, but a lot of people speed up when they see the passing zone. At least in my experience.
posted by elmay at 10:53 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't look in the mirror (maybe flip the rear view mirror up) and drive at a safe speed. It's all you can do.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:03 AM on December 13, 2012


I've always thought a set of these in my rear window would dissuade the douchebags assholes tailgaters.
posted by j_curiouser at 11:27 AM on December 13, 2012


I hate tailgaters so much.

When I'm having a good day, I continue at exactly the speed I wanted to go. I cultivate and appreciate the smug feeling of being a responsible person unlike the yahoo behind me. It's like a warm mug of coffee - warms the insides with just a dash of bitterness. Because honestly, there's very little you can do, and just continuing and worrying about the road ahead of you is the best there is.

Occasionally, I'll give in to the dark side like Scientist. Big glaring warning: I consider this aggressive and a little dangerous, because it forces the yahoo behind you to react and is an escalation in response to the tailgater's actions. I will slowly decelerate way down to wake them up and make them pay attention. But I think your absolute minimum speed for this maneuver should be 10 MPH under the speed limit. Because if you get down to 50 or 45 on a 65, now you're putting others in danger who suddenly come up on the slow traffic. So at most, slow down to 55. The guy behind you has to slow down, then you speed up and go on your merry way, putting space between you and the tailgater. Sometimes it works, sometimes they tailgate again. In the latter situation, sometimes I'll do it again, and that's when they almost always realize I'm doing it for them. More of them back off at that point. But a few of them will get angry and aggressive, and after the second slowdown you really have to let it go. Because let's face it: slowing way down is an aggressive move. You (and I) are not diffusing anything, we're escalating the situation by aggressively screwing with the tailgater. So after you have your fun slowing down, let it go.

I strongly encourage my first solution, and it's what I do most of the time. The second solution is for when I'm feeling weak, like when you lose it and yell at someone who is aggravating you instead of letting it go - now you're escalating. And as I said, it's an aggressive, dickish maneuver, and anyone who does it (me) needs to realize that we're creating a distracting situation and are responsible for escalating. Which is to say: avoid it with whatever willpower you can muster.

And absolutely let them pass when it's safe (which may be rare on your stretch of road). I call them my "cop catchers" when they zoom by, because guess who's getting a ticket if there's a speed trap ahead? The first guy through.
posted by Tehhund at 1:03 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like j_curiouser solution. When I lived in DC, some mornings I'd catch the vice-presidential motorcade moving down Connecticut Ave and the last car in that procession had a bright light in the rear window, pointing back and sweeping back and forth. I thought just mounting an auxiliary headlight back there for the tail-gating solution, but figured I'd wind up with a ticket. So instead I just slow down. WAY down, if that what it takes for them to go around. Much more of an issue for me at night, when the invariably much-larger vehicle doing the tailgating illuminates my cockpit with its headlights much too brightly.
posted by Rash at 1:36 PM on December 13, 2012


Big sign in rear window. I call the police on tailgaters.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:53 PM on December 13, 2012


I sometimes find it helpful to spray my windshield repeatedly... The spray blows back to the car behind if they're too close. It actually does make the tailgater back off about half the time (especially if their windows happen to be open). Other than that, yeah, just make it easy for them to pass when it is possible.
posted by Kriesa at 2:18 PM on December 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


The only thing I do differently is that I will leave more space in front of me if there are cars ahead of me the closer the tailgater gets.

OH, yeah, this! Not only does it help protect you in case you have to stop while being tailgated, but it also provides the tailgater with a space to enter back into, when he or she eventually makes the pass.
posted by davejay at 2:35 PM on December 13, 2012


The mister does the gradual slow down trick (usually just to the speed limit or a little below). He also likes to clean his windshield a lot. It really annoys people when you get their shiny vehicles all spotty.

I just ignore them especially if I'm already above the speed limit and there's plenty lanes for them to move into. If it's single lane, I'll pull over when it's safe to do so. I'd much rather have them ahead of me than behind me. I also like the idea of using the flashers and will do that in the future.
posted by deborah at 2:38 PM on December 13, 2012


Well, you have every possible bit of advice already, but I just wanted to say that after many years I've come to find ignoring works best for me. It does take practice, but it sounds like you'll have the opportunity for it.

Once I had a pickup truck tailgating (on a 55mph road), then slowing down and giving more distance, then speeding up to tailgate again. I guess he was going for the "I will ram you" message but here's the thing: of course he wasn't actually going to do it. These tailgaters, if not oblivious, are cowards and bullies and if they tailgate and you don't speed up there's not really anything else they can do to you.

Of course, the risk is that they'll miscalculate and something will indeed happen. The other risk is that you end up with the 1 in 1000 truly crazy person behind you who decides to escalate. So you might want to try some of the strategies mentioned.

In the case of that "ramming speed" truck, when he was behind me I very obviously reached up and turned my rear view mirror completely sideways - basically communicating that no one was watching his little show (but I was keeping an eye on him subtly using the side mirror). After that he stopped messing around and backed off a bit.

I get tailgated quite a bit now in and around my town because I go at or just above the speed limit most of the time. It honestly doesn't faze me anymore. It just takes practice so hang in there.
posted by mikepop at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2012


I take my foot off the gas and coast until they either take the hint and back off, or get frustrated enough to pass me.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2012


I like the idea of, during the day, flicking your headlights on then off. It looks like you're tapping the breaks without actually doing it and risking getting hit.
posted by sarae at 5:34 PM on December 13, 2012


I tell my 9-year-old son (who's riding in the back seat) to wave at the car behind us. The tailgater backs off around 1 time in 3. Better than nothing, and he gets a kick out of it.
posted by thisclickableme at 6:09 PM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


I always slow down when I'm being tailgated, and I like the idea above about throwing the hazards on. Tailgaters are not your problem. Even better is that the rule here in Australia is that anybody who slams into the back of you is at fault, regardless of circumstances.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:07 PM on December 13, 2012


One of the things that's nice about rural Texas is that if you're on a two lane highway and the person in front of you is going slower than you, when it's safe, they pull over and drive as far onto the shoulder as they can, allowing you to pass them. When you pass, you wave and they wave and everyone is much happier. Can you do something like that? Ooch over to the side of the road and let those people who seem to have Very Important Business scoot on past?
posted by Addlepated at 8:17 PM on December 13, 2012


When I lived in metro Boston with a 45 minute commute and lots of aggressive tailgaters I would drive at the speed limit with my rear view mirror angled down, like when you are being tailgated by someone with their bright lights on. You can still see the cars but they are darkened and less distracting, which really helps when you are trying to keep your eyes on the road rather than looking in the mirror at the car/truck up your ass.
posted by waving at 11:19 AM on December 14, 2012


The evil side of me wonders how effective a "student driver" sign would be. Even if you drive alone. Especially if you drive alone.
posted by SillyShepherd at 5:53 PM on December 16, 2012


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