Driving too close ? - steveb
Keeping to my new found routine of careful driving, keeping to the speed limits etc I have tried to drive "sensibly" on my way to work each morning. This includes keeping to the left where possible, maintaining a reasonable distance between me and the car in front, and keeping a relaxed attitude to the behaviour of others etc etc.

This morning however I joined the motorway, and quickly got up to 65-70, moving out into the middle lane to get past the inevitable lorries and slower traffic. A lady in a Golf on the joining sliproad in front of me however had joined the inside lane, and once I overtook her pulled out behind me - then matching speed and keeping no more than 10m or so behind me.

This lasted for about a half a mile - it's one of my major bugbears, very dangerous and un-necessary - tailgating whether conciously or unconsciously - and as a result I touched on my brakes to "get her off my tail". It worked, and she got the message and overtook off into the distance.

Why people feel the need to follow so closely is beyond me, especially where there's another lane to use, and keep within the limit/reasonable speed.


Driving too close ? - Obsolete
A year or two ago I put the same question to a colleague. He said he could drive close as he had good brakes.

Some colleagues told me that the way to get rid of a tail-gater is to dab on your brakes. It frightens them away. I don't do it as it is potentially dangerous. Anyway I tried it a few times some years ago and it didn't work. They just flashed their lights. I suspect it was seen as evidence that they were being held up by a poor driver. And this is the type who will undertake you as soon as you have completed the overtake and are about to move left.
Driving too close ? - Tom Shaw
Best tactic is to just gradually slow down. It increases your own braking distance from the vehicle in front of you so you are less likely to have to brake sharply and have the tail-gater in your boot, and they will get fed up and overtake you anyway. Who cares if they flash their lights? Let them get stressed and have the heart attack.

With luck the next car they tail-gate will be a plain looking Vectra with two burly occupants and an extra rear view mirror.
Driving too close ? - Obsolete
On windy country lanes with poor visibility a tail-gater reduces the speed I can safely go at. I doubt they realise that. It's ironic since they are obviously in a hurry.

Sometimes I will stop and wave them past. I don't think that approach is suitable for a motorway though!
Driving too close ? - paul swindon

Driving in England, if I am being tailgated on country roads I sometimes slow down, indicate left a couple of flashes and hopefully the far more experienced driver behind can whizz off to the horizon. In France, I tried this a few times, (they really do like to see the name of radio station you are listening to), but they don't get the message, they slowed down behind me until we were both almost parked up together. (Flashing right BTW). You just can't win.
Driving too close ? - matt35 {P}

Lief will be thinking at my reply - here comes that boring IAM ****** again?

There are very few things you can do when plonkers do this to you - we have a few police drivers on this website who will maybe add to my thoughts on how to deal with this:

1) - Be familiar with the TWO SECOND RULE - leave yourself a minimum of two seconds between you and the car in front - whatever speed you are doing.

2) Double the two seconds on wet roads, as a minimum.

3) If you are being tailgated, think about increasing these margins
so that you have time to brake in a controlled manner and give the plonker enough time to avoid hitting you.

4) Be happy that you have a brain - some drivers were missing when the brains were handed out!


Driving too close ? - Gen
Best way to deal with it is not to dab your brakes (they'll come into the back of you) but to dab your rear foglights. Look like brakelights to most people.

Flashing me is a guaranteed way to get me to go slower and slower and slower, BTW...

ps it's not boring matt35... but as you are an IAM driver I've a little question. If you are an IAM driver and you eg drink drive will you be punished more harshly since you are perceived to be more experienced and should know better? Just thinking of a case I knew where a guy who did kickboxing was punished more harshly because he should have know better than most the damage a punch could do...
Driving too close ? - Armitage Shanks{P}
Twice this month I've been hassled by tailgaters. The first occasion I was followed dangerously close by a huge,Dutch registered, truck in a 40 mph limit in roadworks; in the end he tried to overtake me on the inside. On the other occasion, driving on a dual carriageway, at 70 mph and 2 secs behind the car ahead, my rear window was filled with a large Germanic triangle on the front of a LWB Sprinter van. When I managed to get into the left lane and he roared past, his vehicle was covered with telephone numbers and www. stuff so I rang his transport manager and commented on the agrressive and intimidating driving. In Germany some traffic cameras are set to record tailgating as well as speeding; there's a really sensible use for the things!
Driving too close ? - matt35 {P}

I don't know if I would be treated more severely, but having listened to accident investigation officers at IAM meetings, I would certainly deserve to be.
I enjoy drinking as much as most people, as you might notice from my spelling sometimes, but either walk or take a taxi if going for a glass or two.
One of the worst guys for speeding I have ever had to train as an IAM Observer is a local Magistrate - if I get nicked I hope I draw him in court!
Driving too close ? - Marcos{P}
I usually end up with some plonker about a metre of my bumper a few times a day and there is no easy way to dislodge them. Unfortunately the brakes on my merc are superb and if I had to brake very hard most of these idiots would smack straight into the back of me.
I have tried dabbing the brakes but that just sends some of them into a frenzy and they want to kill you. I've tried putting my foot down and leaving them standing and then 2 mins later find them wedged up against my bumper again.
The only solution that seems to work is to slow down and let them get alongside and shoot their tyres out.
This soon slows them down.
The other solution is to let them go by and not to shoot but thats no fun.
Driving too close ? - glowplug
I was discussing this last night whilst out in my brothers car, I'd come to the conclusion it was the big magnet on the subwoofer that pulls them in. We decided that what we really needed was magnet that works in reverse, that way when some fool gets too close you could just turn it on and put the car in neutral. If only........

These kind of drivers are idiots, having been shunted twice, once on the motorway, both heavy impacts, I can't help but wonder how these people get through life. Common what?

Driving too close ? - edisdead {P}
Another option for discouraging tailgaters is a quick blast of windscreen wash. At 50mph+ this will blow back onto the windscreen behind and deter the tailgater from his relentless pursuit (in theory).

Of course, this is again potentially dangerous, as with the brake-dab method, but surely each and every motorist has a responsibility to himself and other road users to position himself on the road in such a way as to be able to react safely to unexpected hazards? (ie. NOT tailgating).

Been said before... if it's called "common" sense, how come it's so rare?

Driving too close ? - leatherpatches
I simply put the brakes on, rather hard. You should see some of the faces I have seen in the rear view mirror. Never had anyone crash into me yet. Boy, they get angry! If they tailgate again, I simply do it again. When they try to undertake, I speed up and they get boxed in.

If they indicate to pull over, I pull over. Never had a fight yet. They mostly drive off.

This may seem irresponsible, but it works for me.
Driving too close ? - Oz
>>In Germany some traffic cameras are set to record
>>tailgating as well as speeding; there's a really sensible
>>use for the things!

In Germany they are far more concerned with following too close than in speeding per se. Colleague of mine (Porsche driver) simply received a set of photos in the post showing his car, himself driving it, his speed, the separation from car in front, date, time, place, etc. and "Please pay..."
Oz (as was)
Driving too close ? - Dave_TD
it was the big magnet on the subwoofer that pulls them in

Turn the bassbox round so it points to the back of the car...
Driving too close ? - Obsolete
Lief (sic) will be thinking at my reply - here comes that boring IAM ****** again?

Matt35: Why on earth would I be thinking that? I find postings from IAM/RoSPA observers/members interesting. Even yours. :> FYI I ordered Ripley's book yesterday. I have high hopes though I think you (or someone else) were not too impressed.

FWIW I employ the techniques you suggest and agree that they can and do save you from accidents. I would add the obvious corollary that if someone pulls in front of you, you should drop back to re-establish the 2 second safety zone.

Driving too close ? - blank
I will be trying in this post not to sound all holier than though like Mr Ripley of ex-Telegraph writing reknown, but if I fail, please forgive me!

Ripley published a letter asking what was the "right" thing do do about tailgaters, which made me interested because I had often wondered. The fog light, gentle brake light flashing, sudden braking, windscreen washer approaches had al succeeded occasionally for me but were not reliable and were at worst downright dangerous.
Ripley suggested that slowing down a little and slowly(to clear distance ahead) followed by speeding up again(to clear distance behind), then maintaining that speed was the correct approach. I have tried this method many times (when I'm feeling virtuous!) and I think it has a far higher success rate than any other approach.

Try it! I didn't believe it would be any better either!

Happy Easter,
Driving too close ? - Mark (RLBS)
Driving up the A34 between Newbury and Oxford the other day, we were all in pretty slow traffic - 20mph and queueing.

I saw a young girl in a Mini being totally terrorised by an Artic - leaving a gap and then accelerating up to her and slamming on the brakes etc. etc.

This annoyed me and was scaring the girl, so the second there was a gap I put the Landcruiser between them; not that its any match for a truck, but its bigger than a Mini and I'm bigger than her.

The truck then decided to try the same tactics with me. I slowed to a stop, stopped and put the handbrake on and visibly crossed my arms. Truck man was full of abusive language, abusive and threatening gestures and roaring engine.

He made to get out of his truck; knowing better than to be caught sat in a vehicle I was out of mine immediately. He leapt back into his, locked the doors and waved his cellphone at me - presumably indicating his willingness to call the police.

What really [imagine the expletive] annoyed me about this is the bullying nature of it. The jumped up little prat was quite willing to terrorise a young girl, threaten and abuse a man in a suit, put everybody at risk and threaten everything under the sun - but the first sign of anybody pushing back and he wimped.

What on earth is a man of that type like to be around if he is your friend, brother, husband, whatever ? Scum. Reported to the police scum at that. If he tried that in Brazil he would be shot, and I'm not convinced that would be a bad thing. If nothing else, the thought of being shot for bullying tactics might just make him think, if he is capable of the act, next time.

By no means are all truck drivers are like that, not even the majority - but its a growing and unacceptably large minority.
Driving too close ? - Altea Ego
Did you see "Traffic Cops" on the BBC this week? Road rage incident between large TNT artic and small (golf i think) hatcback? Hatchback man gets out of golf to remonstrate with truck driver, truckie proceeds to drive over hatchback man and rips his leg off.......(and i mean loss of limb) Police unable to prove if truckie did it on purpose, or hatcback man had a death wish - so no charges brought...................
Driving too close ? - Mark (RLBS)
Yes, I did. Although I reckon there must have been more to it. Apparantly the Peugeot had a dent in the back door, on the opposite side to the Truck, where it had been kicked. Given that I doubt he kicked his own car, I guess it was either another irate driver or the trucker.

And who in their right mind rushes up to a moving truck !
Driving too close ? - Obsolete
I've had several occasions where I have been verbally threatened with physical assault by another driver and I was driving pretty much by the book.

What is worrying is that if there are no witnesses and they do follow through then the chances are the police can't touch them.

I often wonder what it is about driving that causes this aggression. Or are these people nut cases anyway and I don't usually come across them?
Driving too close ? - Morris Ox
What on earth is a man of that type like to
be around if he is your friend, brother, husband, whatever ?
Scum. Reported to the police scum at that. If he tried
that in Brazil he would be shot, and I'm not convinced
that would be a bad thing. If nothing else, the thought
of being shot for bullying tactics might just make him think,
if he is capable of the act, next time.


you should have reported him to his employer, as well as the police.
Driving too close ? - Mark (RLBS)
>>you should have reported him to his employer, as well as the police.

I tried that. I took both a company number and a cell phone number form the truck door. The company was something along the lines of "Bill's Transport". When I called the company there was an amateurish message on an answer phone saying he was on the road and to call his mobile. I figured it was a one man band and that I had already met Bill and saw little point in calling the cell phone.
Driving too close ? - THe Growler
Blimey. Some poster the other day said in oblique response to a post of mine how lucky he was to live in (paraphrased) nice civilised England and made some patronising remarks about the Third World. Maybe he needs a re-think.

Serious competitive macho stuff I get a lot of, often dangerous, that's the cut and thrust of driving here, but I've never seen anything like unwarranted aggression for the sake of it. Two locals come to blows over a parking dispute or who got to the intersection first, maybe. It's generally expected and while often colorful, equally seldom is it seriously nasty.

Surely this example is gratuitous violence, nothing less. Against a woman at that.

Do that to someone's sister here and (we have large families) you will have a group of visitors round your place smartish with blunt instruments (a) to avenge the family's honor, and (b) to rearrange your face.

Driving too close ? - Rita
Growler -

Your ultimate paragraph reminded me of the Bermondsey of my childhood. Suffice it to say that age has now wearied me and the locale is now a foreign country.

The biggest insult then was to be called "effin' ignorant" which implied more than it sounds. Many a dispute was sorted and/or family honour restored without recourse to the local nick at Tower Bridge. Mind you, the nearby fire station at Dockhead , being the nearest bastion of authority ,was often the first port of call in an emergency - and thereby hangs many a tale

Rita- when and only if it really was necessary to call upon the assistance of officildom.

Those were the days!

Driving too close ? - Rita

My text editing, as usual, stinks.


ps. Never mind Rio, I blame it on the Ruby Sauvignon (sp).
Driving too close ? - Mark (RLBS)
>>Surely this example is gratuitous violence, nothing less.

Absolutely. And done by a wimp without the guts to back up his mouth or his truck.

I find the fact that he was prepared to threaten me and try and bully him, no doubt feeling superior and powerful, but equally prepared to run away as soon as there was resistance, the act of a pathetic and socially inadequate individual.

Mind you, I suspect its a fairly normal trait for him. More people need to stand up to this stuff. If every trucker, van or car driver *knew* he would be reported to the police by all the cars around him, if he knew that if he got out of his vehicle then everybody around was going to get out of theirs, it would stop; If he knew that if he did anything agressive his employer would get half a dozen calls, then there would be a lot less wilingness to behave like that. The problem is that we turn the other cheek too often and allow these inadequates to get away with it.

I think we should start a movement. Every time you see someone bullying with their vehicle, beit a truck, car or whatever, ring the police and/or his employer, even if it didn\'t affect you directly - if everybody did it, it would eventually have an effect - and I *always* call the employer if I can, and the police if it was bad enough.

You have to hope that one day you come across a guy like that under different circumstances, perhaps as his boss or something, and can make him suffer.
Driving too close ? - Obsolete
I think we should start a movement. Every time you see someone bullying with their vehicle, beit a truck, car or whatever, ring the police and/or his employer, ... it would eventually have an effect -

Certainly would. Plod would be driven barking.
Driving too close ? - Dom F {P}
I already do this. Until last year I was an Agency driver, and so from week to week I'd be driving for a different company and my ethos has always been that if there's a name on the truck then you drive at your best.
That rule of thumb, however, should be applied to a certain aggregate waste company in the Gatwick area with yellow trucks. I have YET to see one of their drivers a) stick to the speed limit or b) drive considerately. And it's pointless ringing their number because their Transport Dept don't care. It's also the only company I've ever heard of to be banned from a specific road, namely in Reigate, because of their consistent speeding on it.

Now, if I see bad driving, and there's a number on the vehicle I call it and report it to their manager.
Dom F
Driving too close ? - RichardW
Not much point in reporting it to the police as they're as guilty as the rest - traffic T5 going N/bnd through the works at the Thelwall Viaduct on M6 last Monday - exceeding the 40mph speed limit (by at least 25%) and driving way too close to the car(s) in front. He was not on a call as he had no lights on, and was on his own. Not exactly setting a good example.

BTW Nice one Mark - I'm not sure I'd have the nerve!

Driving too close ? - Citroënian {P}
Mark(RLBS) wrote
it would eventually have an effect - and I *always* call the employer if I can, and the police if it was bad enough.


Top marks for coming to the assistance of a damsel in distress (extra credit for her being in a Mini).

Perhaps that idiot will think twice in future about jumping out of his lorry, although somehow I doubt it. Let's just hope that whoever he causes to be hurt by the inevitable consequences of this driving is someone he's close to.

As for calling the employer, done it a few times now, always interesting to see the reaction to nutters operating in the company name.


MINI adventure in progress


Value my car