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Aggressive driving is a reality across the United States. A 2016 study by AAA found that 78 percent of U.S. drivers had reported engaging in aggressive driving behaviors. California is no exception, ranking the highest of any state in residents reporting to have experienced an “aggressive driving event” (one occurring every 6.6 minutes).

It goes without saying that aggressive driving is dangerous behavior, but responses to it can also be exceptionally hazardous. Below are some tips for dealing with aggressive driving behavior known as “tailgating.”

What Is Tailgating?

If you don’t already know, tailgating is an aggressive driving behavior that occurs when a car behind you does not maintain a safe following distance. This lack of following distance can make emergency braking become a nightmarish accident, as higher speeds require a longer stopping distance. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three or four seconds of distance between you and other cars is a safe following distance. 

How To Deal With Tailgaters

It is not always easy to respond to aggressive behavior with a calm and collected demeanor. However, responding to tailgating with the right attitude and actions can drastically improve your safety and the safety of your passengers. When dealing with tailgaters, you should:

  • Remain composed – Responding to aggression with a calm temperament can help to de-escalate the situation and reduce aggressive driving behavior. This reduction in aggression improves safety.
  • Give chances for the tailgater to pass – Pulling off to the right lane will allow a tailgater to pass and remove them from your vicinity. If you are on a single-lane road, it may be helpful to look for an opportunity to pull off the road to let the tailgater pass. 
  • Avoid brake-checking or slamming on the brakes – Unless braking for an emergency, always use steady braking when being followed at a close distance. This will reduce the risk of an accident. 
  • Keep a steady speed – Varying speed can increase the chance of an accident. Speeding up to accommodate a tailgater may land you a ticket, while slowing down may cause further aggression or an accident. It is best to keep steady and look for an opportunity to let them pass. 
  • Be alert – Aggressive behavior on the road can be unpredictable and irrational. Remaining aware of your surroundings and following the other tips will give you the best chance of escaping an accident. 

Continuing to be aware of your speed in relation to other drivers and staying in the right lane can be the most effective means of preventing tailgating in the first place. As another helpful tip, if you are uncomfortable with the speed of other drivers, you could follow a truck at a safe distance. Most drivers anticipate trucks driving slowly, and trucks will be visible over your car. This means they will likely pass you and the truck without further incident. 

I Was Hit By A Tailgater—Do I Have A Claim?

Typically, if a tailgater rear-ends your car, the fault lies with them, and you could have a strong claim against them for any damages or injuries you have experienced. However, in some cases, reciprocal aggressive behavior can create liability on your part. If you were brake-checking a tailgater or tapping your brakes, the fault could be attributed to both parties. To better understand the viability of your claim, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. 

Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates has skilled attorneys ready to fight for your interests and rights. Our attorneys are highly skilled and have a breadth of experience in car crash claims, as well as many other personal injury claims. For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our attorneys, please call 888-848-5084 or contact us online