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Defensive Driving-Avoid Tailgaters

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On: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 at 3:05PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

Defensive Driving-Avoid Tailgaters

Everyone knows that tailgaters are a pain in the you know what. Following too closely often restricts your vision, and gives you less time to react, should the driver in front of you need to make a sudden stop. In fact, 40% of the accidents are a direct result of following too closely.

Those statistics are the reason the two-second rule was created and integrated into driving safety programs, and appear as a very common test question on most state’s driver’s license exams. 
Okay, so it’s a fairly simple guideline to follow, given the fact that we know we will have cut our risk of being in a rear-end collision in half if we simply adhere, but what about other drivers who are tailgating—following us to closely? There are some practical things that you can do to help ensure your safety when other motorists put you at risk.

Let's say you can't get the guy off your tail and he follows you for several blocks. If something requiring immediate response happens and you actually DO hit the brakes, the tailgater's reaction time may be longer because he is thinking you are just "tapping" your brake lights again—and by tailgating he is already too close for comfort!

The first thing to do is automatically add an extra two seconds between you and the driver in front of you, so that if you need to react you have more time to change lanes or slow down before the guy behind you rear-ends you.

Your best strategy in defensive driving is to let the tailgater get around you by slowing down very gradually just a little bit less than the flow of traffic giving him plenty of time to pass you. He is most likely planning to pass you at some point anyhow, but the longer he remains behind you, the more likely he is to become angry and make a rash decision to pass when it is not safe, endangering his life, and yours.

Don’t get into a power play with him; many people try to warn the tailgater by tapping their brakes which is like playing with fire. The tailgater may begin to ignore your brake lights going on, and then if you really needed to stop, it would give him even less time before he smashes into the back of your new car or truck; it is not worth it to put your safety at risk.


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