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Dealing with tailgating on the road

Dealing with tailgating on the road

Did you know that around half of Northern Ireland’s motorists have admitted to driving too close to the car in front? Tailgating is a major cause of road accidents in the UK & Ireland yet many of us do it regularly. When a motorist is tailgated there is a clear and measurable impact on their driving behaviour. Heartrate spikes and anxiety kicks in whilst also encouraging them to spend longer looking in the rear view mirror than they should, diverting attention from what’s in front.

So what happens if you get tailgated? 

There are two type of tailgater and each should be treated differently. We have the aggressive tailgater and the passive tailgater.

Aggressive Tailgating

The aggressive tailgater has the clear intention of overtaking you. Their reckless and dangerous driving is their way of telling you to hurry up or get out of the way. As annoying as these actions may be the best course is to remain calm and simply let them pass by moving into the slow lane or pulling in. Although this may be difficult given how aggravating aggressive tailgating is, it is much safer to give way and avoid an accident than to hold them up further or wind them up which would likely result in even more erratic driving behaviour. As tempting as it may be, please avoid being the man in the illustration of this blog post!

You should remain level headed and don’t allow yourself to be bullied by the car behind into increasing your speed. You should always obey the speed limit, drive at a speed you’re comfortable with and avoid tailgating the car in front yourself.

If you have dash cam footage of this aggressive driving behaviour, you might also consider sharing it with the police.

Passive Tailgating

It’s marginally more challenging to deal with the passive tailgater. They are less interested in overtaking you and are likely just happy to move with the flow of traffic. Unfortunately, they underestimate their braking time and unknowingly place both themselves and you in danger. To deal with it, you should begin to slow your speed by gradually easing off the accelerator. This method is better than tapping the brake as the passive tailgater might get desensitised to your brake light which creates problems if you have to suddenly brake hard. By reducing your speed, the car behind should either back off or overtake you. Either way, the chances of an accident occurring will be reduced.


Accidents involving a tailgater typically involve them crashing into the rear of the car in front. This usually results in the driver in front developing symptoms of whiplash. Click here to learn more about our whiplash claims service.

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Michael's Accident at Work Settles for £5,000 (Belfast)
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Karen's Accident at Work Settles for £6,250 (Belfast)

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