When people talk about tailgating, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a whole day of fun, burgers, music, and sometimes booze. But there’s another kind of tailgating that’s less fun—in fact, it’s dangerous when you’re on the road and you can’t maneuver your vehicle to a safe spot.
In this article, we talk about what tailgating is, why some drivers do it, and what you can do when stuck in a similar situation.
What is Tailgating in Driving?
In driving, tailgating is defined as following another vehicle too closely. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 38,680 people died in 2020 due to motor vehicle traffic crashes.
Why is tailgating dangerous? Even if you are driving at a slow speed, tailgating other drivers could lead to rear-end accidents and serious injuries. You can’t see what’s happening in front of the vehicle you’re tailing. Huge trucks have blind spots, and drivers often cannot see the distance between their trucks and the vehicles behind them.
If you’re following another big rig, there’s a huge chance for a rear-end collision as big trucks need more wiggle room to come to a safe stop. Smaller vehicles might underride if the truck in front suddenly stops.
Why Do People Tailgate?
People tailgate for different reasons. Some may be in a hurry and feel that following another vehicle closely will put pressure on the driver in front to hurry up.
Some truck drivers tend to tailgate more frequently to stick to their Hours of Service (HOS). When drivers are worried about getting to their destination quickly, they sometimes forget to leave a safe distance between them and the other vehicles.
Others do it out of habit until it becomes an annoying behavior on the road. Then, some do it out of aggression or road rage. Such drivers are a huge danger to everyone on the road. If you’re concerned for your safety, pull over and call the police to report unsafe driving activities.
What to Do If Someone Is Tailgating You
Whether you’re driving a car or a commercial truck, you could easily lose control of your vehicle when you follow too closely. The next time you notice a driver trailing too closely, drive defensively. It’s a proactive way of ensuring everyone’s safety on the road.
The best way to deal with a tailgater is to keep your cool. It’s annoying when the driver behind keeps honking the horn or flashing their lights. However, letting your annoyance take the best of you could push the other driver to become aggressive. Avoid brake checking or driving even more slowly to get your point across.
Keep your distance.
Some trucks drive in a convoy. If the driver in front miscalculates the distance and hits the brakes, it’s going to cause a domino effect. As you can imagine, it is going to be a dangerous situation for everyone on the road. Maintain a good distance especially when driving on highways and open roads by leaving a buffer zone between vehicles. The AARP suggests following the 3-second rule to ensure that you’re following a safe distance. Others say leaving a full truck trailer length of stopping distance for every 10 mph is a good rule of thumb. However, variables like weather and road conditions could affect how soon a vehicle can come to a full stop. The bottom line: Stay away as reasonably far as possible.
- Maintain your speed.
Speeding to prevent the other vehicle from passing may be tempting. However, a lot of things could go wrong when you do this. For one, the other driver may become aggressive. Another possible scenario is that you could get into an accident if you speed up. Of course, you could also get pulled over for speeding.
- Pull off the road.
Sometimes changing lanes is not possible when you’re in a two-lane street. To let the other driver pass, you could look for a nearby parking lot or gasoline station to park momentarily. Avoid using the shoulder or emergency lane to avoid obstructing other vehicles.
How AI Technology Can Help
Driving on a busy road can be intimidating even for the most seasoned drivers. Humans can’t rely only on what they see. We all need an extra pair of eyes to help navigate the roads safely. With the help of AI technology, drivers can watch out for risky driving behaviors and act accordingly.
Netradyne’s Driveri® can help decrease road accidents by sending real-time audio alerts. This prompts drivers to stay alert and keep their eyes on the road. Fleet safety cameras like Driveri® analyze driving behavior (i.e., following too close) and guides drivers in avoiding collisions. This tailgating solution helps decrease collisions, fatalities, and lost profits due to accidents.
Tailgating other drivers is dangerous to everyone on the road. Help prevent rear-end crashes and underrides by always following a safe distance. Netradyne provides tailgating solutions through smart dash cams that keep drivers on their toes.