Your natural reaction when someone tailgates you may be to aggressively hit the brakes or do something else to escalate the situation. The reason for this is simply that it’s frustrating to have someone driving so close to you and clearly putting you in danger. You want them to back off, and many people resort to “brake-checking” the other driver as a way to do this.
But is this actually a wise decision? And if not, then how should you approach a tailgater?
Tips that can help and things to avoid
First and foremost, you always want to avoid brake-checking someone. It’s illegal. It’s dangerous. It can mean you’re at fault if you cause an accident, even though the other driver was behind you. Since it is seen as an intentional action that can cause a crash, it may lead to serious legal ramifications.
Instead, what you want to do is give the tailgater the opportunity to pass, which is probably all that they want anyway. On the interstate, this often just means moving to a different lane. This can also work on multi-lane streets in the city. But if you’re on a smaller rural road with just one traffic lane in each direction, you may have to look for a parking lot or a driveway where you can pull to the side of the road.
No matter what, it is always safer to simply let the tailgater pass and then continue on your way at a safe and reasonable speed. Never engage with them or make things worse.
Tailgaters do cause accidents every day. If you get injured by one of them, you may be able to seek financial compensation for your medical bills and other costs.