(Not city street tail-gating, but tail-gating on the highways.)
I can’t say I’ve ever been induced to increase my speed because of a tail-gater. Around here, 80 km/hour is a typical speed limit, and I usually drive 95-100 km/hour.
At the earliest convenience, I will pull onto a shoulder, let them pass and resume. But if that’s not an option, I usually put on my four-ways, take my foot off the gas, and let the car coast until the driver behind me “gets it”.
A couple friends actually brake suddenly. I suspect most tail-gaters aren’t necessarily aggressive drivers, just stupid and lacking in foresight.
I don’t hold a grudge against those doing only the speed limit, but doing 10 km/hr less (and sometimes worse) than the speed limit? Well, at least I don’t deal with it by tail gating. I’ve often thought about submitting an FOI request to ask how many drivers are ticketed for driving too slow, and not signalling turns.
The thing is, I drive on a mostly unlit freeway at night. So there’s a few factors in the getting screwed over equation:
1.) It’s dark, so I don’t often notice how fast I’m going with regard to the scenery.
2.) It’s the middle of the night, so there’s often no traffic to match speed with. Usually I just go the speed limit in the left lane, since the only other people on the road are Semis going about 55 or 50mph in the right lane.
3.) These fine officers approach slowly, so you don’t really notice they’re tailgating until they’re like right on your fender.
4.) By the time I notice the cop’s right on my ass, I’ve subconsciously been speeding up to try to increase the distance for about 5 minutes and I’m going some ridiculous speed.
5.) If it weren’t a cop out looking to score, but just someone wanting to drive fast, they would have come blazing up on my tail, and I would have gotten out of their way long before they passed.
Therefore, I feel this is legalized entrapment and that State Patrol officers are rapacious sharks tricking me into speeding. I got my second ticket by this method a week ago, and now I’ve just decided to sit in the right lane and stare a semi’s enormous ass end while I take an extra 20 minutes to get home because going the speed limit means that cops tailgate me all the way home.
In any case I try very hard not to tailgate anyone because I know how much it stresses myself out, and I try to get out of tailgater’s way rather than invite a road-rage induced shooting.
I also really dislike changing lanes when someone’s right on my ass as well. Because I don’t know if they’re suddenly going to try to weave around me while I do it. So I try to build up a car length or two before switching lanes, and that’s pretty much why I got the tickets.
That would be the mechanically perfect solution, if it weren’t so illegal. I wonder if I could put in an oilslick system? Pass off the oil on the road as a leaky oilpan? Like 30 gallons worth of leaky oilpan.
One of my father’s college friends(from the ‘highly capable; but possibly ethically dis-inhibited’ side of the student body) ‘solved’ his problem with tailgaters by making a few small modifications to his vehicle so that he could turn on his brake lights, without actually braking, with a switch mounted among the rest of the controls near the steering wheel.
Given that most people respond to brake lights more or less automatically, at least for a few seconds, and having the guy you are tailgating at highway speed slam on his brakes is a potentially lethal situation, this simulation was apparently extremely damaging to the morale of the target.
Such a tactic is, of course, reckless, dangerous, and probably illegal; but apparently also works fairly well.
I wondered if the lights were activated separately from the braking motion, or tied in automatically.
In any case, I don’t care what the guy behind me does, as long as it increases his distance from me.
Those drivers didn’t describe it to me as slamming on the brakes, but applying the brakes and releiving them according to how the ass rider responded. Sort of a tough love version of my four-ways along with coasting the speed down with the foot off the gas.
Definitely, slamming on the brakes is “see what you made me do”. Not a win for anybody.
I’ve been astonished at how slow you can go without people going around you even when there’s an empty lane right there specifically for overtaking. I had one guy get so close once I couldn’t see his headlights any more and I’d got down to something like 25mph in a 50.
Sounds like a fair amount of trouble, when one could simply lightly rest one’s left foot on the brake pedal while continuing to boogie along at speed. The lights will turn on some small pedal distance before the brakes actually engage, unless something is woefully out of adjustment.
I’m a fan of @davide405’s passive-aggression. Hard braking will likely cause an accident. Mild deceleration might irritate the tailgater, but probably won’t result in wreckage. I certainly don’t bother to speed up for tailgaters, unless they’re an emergency vehicle with lights on (and aren’t trying to pull me over). As long as I know someone’s tailgating me (and I make a habit to check my mirrors constantly), then I can adjust my driving to allow for their presence. But their hurry does not influence my own hurry. Generally speaking, I got all day.
NB: I’m in Oz, so transpose left for right if folks drive on the wrong side of the road around your way.
I hate tailgaters; people with no grasp of basic physics have no business behind the wheel. I generally do the limit, or 5km/h over or so, and keep left if I’m not overtaking. So any dickwad who rides my bumper for long enough tends to cop my ire… when provoked, I’ll give a few quick stabs on the brake, dropping my speed 10km/h or so to make my point plain (we don’t need to fear gun-wielding maniacs in civilised countries).
What I’ve been sorely tempted to do is to fire up a scrolling LED display, so I can hit a button and bring up ‘GET OFF MY ARSE’ or something. And ‘KEEP LEFT UNLESS OVERTAKING’ mirrored for the front windscreen would be good too, for the countless idiots these days who sit in the right lane doing 10 or even 20km/h under the limit…
Basic physics and some concept of traffic flow is sorely lacking in driver ed.