Virtually all motorists would agree that tailgating is easily one of most annoying things about modern motoring. However, many drivers admit to being guilty of it themselves.
Almost nine in ten (89 per cent) drivers find being tailgated by other drivers annoying, second only to dangerous overtaking (92 per cent), according a survey of 2,000 UK motorists published by Kwik Fit.
More than a third of us (37 per cent) would respond to a car following too closely by slowing down to leave a wider gap between them and the car in front, with the aim of encouraging the tailgater to do the same – leading by example if you like.
However, many drivers take riskier measures. One in three (34 per cent) of drivers would lightly dab their brakes to make their brake lights come on without slowing down, while eight per cent would use their fog lights, flicking them on to make the driver behind think that they are braking.
One in ten go even further, saying they would brake sharply to get the car behind to back off, while 11 per cent would increase their speed in a bid to create some distance from their tailgater.
Some have even launched a ‘revenge attack’ by pulling over to let the tailgating car pass, before pulling back out to follow as closely as the first tailgater had been doing.
All these moves carry significant risks of causing a collision, said Roger Griggs, communications director at Kwik Fit.
“The accident statistics show very clearly that many road casualties are caused by cars following too closely,” he commented.
“This research highlights that the danger doesn’t just come from tailgaters not being able to stop in time, but from the negative reactions they cause in other drivers.”
Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, added: “When faced with a tailgater, the safest thing to do is drive normally and pull over safely to let them pass. There’s no winner in tit for tat behaviour.”