Four Types Of Tailgaters And How To Avoid Them

person driving

Without a doubt, tailgating is a danger to motorists everywhere. Most drivers have experienced the stress of another car following too closely, and know that it’s a major factor leading to accidents on the road. If a car has to suddenly hit the brake, a tailgating vehicle has little time to react, and a collision is nearly unavoidable.

Did you know that there are different types of tailgaters, though? While their behavior is similar, their motivations for tailgating vary, and knowing what “drives” them can help you better avoid them while you’re out on the roads. Here are four varieties of tailgaters to watch for.

The “Ignorance Is Bliss” Tailgater

Sometimes, people tailgate simply because they don’t know any better. The ignorant tailgater is one who is unaware of the dangers tailgating poses, and may even be confused about why they’re at fault once they get into that inevitable collision. This is often due to inexperience behind the wheel, so there’s an increased chance that your younger drivers will also be ignorant tailgaters.

The “Head In The Clouds” Tailgater

We’ve all seen distracted drivers out on the road. They aren’t giving their full focus to driving, they might be playing around on their phones or texting, and there’s a good chance they’re also following other cars too closely without even noticing. Since they aren’t thinking about the risks, it’s all too easy for them to go barrelling into the car in front of them during a quick stop. When you see another driver with their head in the clouds, it’s best to avoid them if possible.

The “Apathetic” Tailgater

A slight distinction from a tailgater who is ignorant of the dangers or even distracted from them. The apathetic (or complacent) tailgater knows full well the dangers, but simply doesn’t care because they’ve probably been getting away with it for so long.

The “Aggressive” Tailgater

These types of tailgaters make themselves instantly known. They may or may not know that tailgating is dangerous, but that distinction is moot because they are motivated by rage. They’re out to intimidate other drivers by riding as close as possible, so their regard for safety is minimal, at best.

Protecting Yourself From Tailgaters

Now that you’re familiar with these types of tailgaters, you should know the best advice for staying safe when a tailgater is on your rear is to maintain a safe speed, watch your mirrors for sudden moves, and try to carefully increase the distance between yourself and the other vehicle. 

Pulling over and switching lanes, when possible, are also viable strategies. If you are injured in a car accident because a tailgater couldn’t brake in time, though, be sure to call for emergency services first, then document as much about the incident as you can for future reference during insurance and legal proceedings.