SAFE DRIVING HABITS: HOW TO AVOID TAILGATERS
When it comes to defining tailgating there are no fixed rules. There’s the “Assured Cleared Distance Rule,” which is the distance ahead by which a driver can bring his vehicle to a halt. But what is that distance, actually? Is it the number of car lengths, or the 2 second rule (remember drivers ed?)? Well, like everything else, it’s complicated. It’s not just the distance between vehicles but weather, traffic and local custom. So what’s a driver to do? Simple: be focused, pay attention, and follow a few basic rules.
Imagine you’re driving in traffic, and you’re in the zone: You’re relaxed, you know what’s in front of the car ahead of you, you’re aware of the car coming up behind you, you’ve noted what’s in the lanes next to you and upcoming traffic signs. You may have the radio on for company, but you’re brain is focused on the cars around you. You notice a car behind you, speeding up, closing in on you. What to do? Stay calm, breathe.
- Gradually reduce your speed, allowing the aggressive driver to pass you.
- Shift to the right, or the slow lane, allowing the demon to pass you on the left.
- Don’t be a source of the problem. If you are matching speeds with a vehicle next to you, slow down and drop behind, allowing the tailgater to pass you.
Now you’re back in the zone, focused on everything around you. How long can you keep this level of focused concentration, especially after a busy work day? At first, probably not long, but with practice, you will get better and better. Knowing that this is the level of concentration to aspire to when driving will, in and of itself, help you avoid tailgating through inattention and help you avoid those aggressive drivers charging up behind you. With practice, your wonderful human brain will learn to process all the action around you, you’ll be relaxed, you’ll avoid accidents, and keep you car insurance rates low.
Until the day comes when the intelligent highway system of the future assures safer highways, practice relaxed, attentive driving. Breath, focus, and enjoy the road.