Tailgating is a very common cause of motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, tailgating is also a relatively common behavior among many drivers.

You may be a responsible motorist who does not tailgate others. This does not mean you can always avoid tailgaters on the road.

It’s natural to feel stressed and even frightened when you notice a driver behind you is staying far too close to your vehicle for comfort. You can mitigate these worries by taking certain steps to safely address tailgating. They include the following:

Remain calm and control your emotions

It can be very difficult to maintain your composure when someone is tailgating you. This is particularly true if they are engaging in other such aggressive behaviors as honking their horn, flashing their lights, etc.

You may be tempted to respond to a tailgater’s aggression by slamming on your brakes, making rude gestures, or otherwise behaving aggressively yourself.

Do not give into this urge. Doing so will only escalate an already dangerous situation. While it may be challenging to stay calm when another driver is attempting to intimidate you, in the long run, you’ll be glad you guarded against an accident by managing your emotions.

Move out of the way

The best way to ensure your own safety when someone is tailgating you is to simply let them pass you. If you are driving on a multilane highway, wait for an opportunity to safely change lanes, and do so promptly when said opportunity presents itself.

To reiterate a point above, if you suspect a tailgater is speeding, you might feel the impulse to take on the responsibility of a law enforcement officer, forcing a tailgater to obey the speed limit by forcing them to continue driving behind you.

Your intentions may be good. However, you must know that this type of passive-aggressive behavior can actually increase the risk of an accident occurring. You will be much less likely to be harmed on the road if you allow a tailgater to get around you. If you are not on a multilane highway, pull over when you can safely do so.

Maintain your speed

Again, it is not your job to police the roadway. You should not drive slowly to punish a tailgater for speeding.

On the other hand, unless you are driving at a speed that’s dangerously slow given the posted speed limit, you should not necessarily speed up to appease a tailgater either. This can result in you accidentally becoming a tailgater yourself if you approach other vehicles in front of you too closely.

Maintain a safe and consistent speed when someone is tailgating you. Once more, the ideal way to address this situation is to change lanes or pull over as soon as you can do so without putting yourself or others at risk.

Do not give into this urge. Doing so will only escalate an already dangerous situation. While it may be challenging to stay calm when another driver is attempting to intimidate you…

Avoid being the tailgater

Accelerating quickly because someone else is tailgating you is not the only way you can accidentally tailgate a motorist in front of you. Even if you don’t mean to be a tailgater, you could become one unintentionally if you’re not careful. Ways to avoid accidentally tailgating others on the road include the following:

Remaining aware of your surroundings: Always pay attention to the distance between your vehicle and all other vehicles on the road. Monitor the rate of speed of vehicles in front of you to determine if you need to reduce your speed to avoid tailgating. Obeying the speed limit: There may be instances when drivers in front of you are traveling at speeds far below the posted speed limit. Generally, though, if you obey the speed limit, your odds of tailgating someone else will be fairly low.

Waiting for an opportunity to pass: If you do find yourself behind a driver who is traveling unreasonably slowly, don’t tailgate them in an attempt to force them to pull over. Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and theirs and wait for an opportunity to legally pass them.

All that said, there is no guarantee that applying these tips will always prevent you from being involved in an accident with a tailgater.

Have you been harmed in a motor vehicle accident in the Boston area resulting from tailgating? You may be eligible to recover compensation for your losses, including medical bills and other damages associated with your accident.

Because Massachusetts is a no-fault state, your primary means of seeking compensation in these circumstances will be to file a claim with your own insurance provider. You may be able to file an additional claim or lawsuit against the negligent driver who caused your accident if your injuries or losses are particularly severe.

Regardless, securing the compensation you deserve will be much easier if you have representation from a qualified Boston car accident attorney. That is exactly what you will find at Swartz & Swartz, P.C. If you have been injured in a tailgating accident, learn more about what we can do for you by contacting us online or calling us at (617) 742-1900 to schedule a free consultation.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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