You understand how far back you need to stay from the next car when you’re driving on the road. You always use the three-second rule to make sure there’s enough space between you and the car in front of you. You want to avoid a rear-end collision, and you need time to stop if something unexpected happens.
However, not all other drivers are as safety-conscious, and tailgating is a prime example of unsafe driving. You probably know the feeling of being tailgated. You feel like the vehicle behind you is following too closely. Maybe it feels like the other driver is angry at you, or maybe the other driver is just oblivious to the fact that they’re putting you at risk. If you’re being tailgated, what should you do?
Do not brake check them
One of the most common tactics that people use when being tailgated is to brake check the other driver by quickly hitting the brakes aggressively. You should never do this. In fact, it is often illegal to make such a maneuver because it can lead to a wreck.
Let the other vehicle pass
Instead, the best thing to do is just to let the tailgater pass you at the first opportunity. If you’re driving on a smaller road, it may be worth pulling off to the side of the road or into a parking spot to let the vehicle go by. If you’re driving on the interstate, it may be wise to switch to another lane so that the tailgater can go around you. IMPORTANT: Every situation is different, so you should always do what is safest in the moment. Try to remain calm and let the tailgater pass you at the first safe opportunity.
Unfortunately, even if you drive responsibly and try to adhere to simple safety rules, a tailgater’s aggressive driving could still leave you injured. To learn more about your options, please see our overview of steps you should take after a car accident in West Virginia.