Social Question

LittleLemon's avatar

Do you ever tailgate in traffic?

Asked by LittleLemon (1250 points ) June 29th, 2012

If so, do you have certain ethics you adhere to when deciding on a “right” time to tailgate someone?

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34 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Only at very slow speeds, say if someone is doing 15 in a 30 zone. I usually never tailgate at speed. I typically leave a lot of room in front of me. Which also means a lot of idiots pull out in front of me.

marinelife's avatar

No. i hate tailgaters and I hate tailgating.

picante's avatar

I do not—I try to keep a “Super-Dave Safety Length” between me and the person ahead of me. And I can’t stand the idiots people who are on my tail. Now, if traffic is only moving at 5MPH, then that safety length is pretty short.

tom_g's avatar

It is never ok to tailgate. Never.

LittleLemon's avatar

@tom_g Being smacked around by Robert Loggia would be quite an interesting addition to my day, however.

zenvelo's avatar

@tom_g that should be required to watch before you get a learner’s permit.

I don’t tailgate. I will admit to getting close after a lane change if there is not enough room, but then I back off the accelerator until I have enough room ahead of me.

What bugs me most is when someone gets so close I can’t see the grill in my rear-view mirror.

Coloma's avatar

Only inadvertantly and as soon as I become aware I back off. I am tailgated a lot though out here on my country/mountain highways. really pisses me off. I HATE being leader of the pack with people on my ass when deer are leaping across the road. People are idiots when it comes to mountain driving. Bah….city slickers. lolol

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I hate tailgaters at highway speeds. When I nearly got into an accident a little while ago a SUV was tailgating me and I was just waiting for the hit from them as I braked to try to avoid the SUV coming at me. I thought I was going to be a sandwich.

JLeslie's avatar

I do my best not to. I think it is extremely dangerous, stupid driving. Sometimes I wind up close to the back of a car, but I quickly try to correct it, easing off the gas. In very very slow, dense traffic cars are generally close together, but in slow traffic closer together is more permissible as stopping time is shorter.

When people tail me I sometimes wave at the to get the fuck back! I sometimes have people on my tail at a stop light on a hill, and I could easily roll back into them. Idiots. That is not the same as tailgating at high speeds, but still, I bet that guy also tailgates.

LittleLemon's avatar

@JLeslie How do you wave at them to back off? I’ve always wondered if there was a way to get their attention without flipping the bird. Nothing I’ve tried has looked more to them than me swatting at a bee in my car.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

@LittleLemon I flip them the bird. That’s easily understood.

JLeslie's avatar

@LittleLemon There is a good chance most of the time they just think I am nuts. I only do it at slower speeds, I don’t do it on the highways. Last time I did it the guy was tailing me and then we came to a light and he was right on top of me. I could actually turn around while stopped, face him and mouthed get back as I waved at him, kind of like my hand pushing something back. He knew exaclty what I meant, but did not give a damn of course. He mouthed some sort of crap back at me.

Coloma's avatar

If I can, I pull over and wave them around me. Recently, for the first time in as long as I can remember I DID flip a guy off. Oooh man, I was furious! The asshat was in a Porsche and on my tail for several miles on the descent downhill into the hub of my tourist community.

A very winding and no shoulder road with about 12 deer for every 100 yards of roadway.
Classic arrogant ass and the funny thing was when he saw my face as he passed he did a double take and then tried to FLIRT with me. Heh…jerk! Think you’re sooo cool in your Porsche and you can drive like a dick and then the cute little blonde you’ve been dogging for the last 4 miles is going to fall for your smoldering good looks?

I looked right at him, gave him my brightest smile and flipped him the finger! lolol
Another thing out here is a lot of people trailer their horses out to our great river trails and tailgating someone pulling a horse trailer with thousands of pounds of horseflesh in it is another big no, no. Helloooo moron! Man, if anyone EVER hit my horses back in the day I’d have filleted them on the spot with a hoof pick! haha

gasman's avatar

On (rare) occasions at night I have resorted to shining a flashlight that I keep handy in the car into the rear view mirror, aimed at the driver tailgating me. Usually works.

I faithfully adhere to the two-second rule for following distance.

JLeslie's avatar

@Coloma Hahaha. Funny thing is I was in my Porsche in the scenerio I described to @LittleLemon. The other guy was in a big ass truck that could have squashed me if he had rammed into me. Not that I am defending the guy in your Porsche incident. He is obviously an asshole.

Coloma's avatar

@JLeslie It’s my area, we draw in 100’s of thousands of tourists every season, and while I am thrilled our little community is so popular in the summer it does make it frustrating for us locals at times. You just can’t PUSH a horse trailer any faster than is safe and knowing these roads as I do, I also know how dangerous foolish tourists can be.

ratboy's avatar

One man’s tailgating is another man’s slipstreaming.

jerv's avatar

In Seattle, some people consider it tailgating if you are close enough that you cannot parallel park a school bus between you… at a red light. So, before I can answer, define “tailgating”.

Coloma's avatar

MY definition of tailgating. Following closer than a minimum of 3–4 car lengths, and we aren’t talkin’ Mini Coopers. lol

LittleLemon's avatar

@jerv That’s a great question. Personally, I’m fine with people being a car length behind me, even on the highway. It’s the people who have to actually slow down to continue driving behind me instead of just getting in the other lane or passing me. That makes no sense to me.

I do tailgate sometimes, though. I reserve it for when people are going 5+ mph below the speed limit on a road in which I cannot pass them. In some cases, they have caused accidents here by going way below the speed limit in front of an on-ramp where people are expected to accelerate to meet the speed of existing traffic.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Nope. The highest point of my car is just 3 feet and most of the body is only 1.5 feet off the ground . Get too close to the car in front and they can’t see you. Which is bad.

Blu's avatar

Sometimes when someone ticks me off, say cuts me off on the freeway.

JLeslie's avatar

@Blu So someone cuts you off, and then you tailgate them?

Blu's avatar

Well when I’m in a hurry and scooting along at 70+ mph just like everyone else in the left lane and then get cut off by some “good citizen” going at precisely 55 mph at the last possible moment, yeah, I tailgate.

Leanne1986's avatar

Sometimes I do it accidentally but always correct myself when I realise I’m doing it and try to stay at least to car lengths distance which is what was recommended when I went on a safe driving course (after I was caught speeding!). Also, I get annoyed when other people do it to me and would rather people weren’t thinking “get of my arse twat” about me as I do about the people who tailgate me!!

Linda_Owl's avatar

I only tailgate when some idiot pulls into the space that I leave between me & the car in front of me & only for the time it takes me to drop back. There is never an ‘appropriate’ moment for tailgating – it is an open invitation to disaster.

woodcutter's avatar

I get pushed into it if someone passes me then slows down. I try to avoid it especially now that everyone is on their phone driving stupidly.

Coloma's avatar

There is a blind 90 degree hill on the road back down to my canyon and the speed limit is 15.
Just below the crest of the hill, on the far side, is an intersecting road.
A lot of us back here use it as shortcut from the main highway.
People FLY over this hill at about 45 and it is not uncommon that another car is making their move from the little rural intersection below.

It’s dodging a bullet coming and going. lol

Blackberry's avatar

Only if they’re under the speed limit or in the left lane on the highway.

bewailknot's avatar

I don’t tailgate as a rule, but I did once on a winding, narrow mountain road – my only serious road rage. 2 a.m., coming home from work and the car behind me was tailgating with their high beams on. The speed limit on this road was 15 to 20 MPH and I was above that the whole time. Near the top of the mountain was a turnout, so as soon as they passed me I started chasing them with my high beams on. We were going so fast I don’t know how we stayed on the road. Lucky we both survived it.

Paradox25's avatar

I never tailgate, even a slow driver. I wish others would show the same courtesy, since they would not have caught up to me to begin with if they were doing the legal speed limit.

jerv's avatar

@LittleLemon That is one of the reasons I, an East coast transplant, have issues with Seattle. Around here, people feel entitled to use the left lane if their foot is near the gas pedal whereas back East, if you aren’t doing at least 10-over, you will lose the left side of your car before you even make it into the left lane. I am used to about a car-length between cars at 75–80 mph, proper lane discipline, and slower traffic keeping right; none of that happens here.

gasman's avatar

@jerv Only one car length at 75–80? You can’t mean that! That’s only about 150 milliseconds at 75 mph (= 110 feet/second). One car length is thus equivalent to tailgating. The two-second rule translates to over 200 feet & many people use 3 seconds, which is more like 20 car lengths. In your defense, people tend to underestimate car lengths as a measure of distance.

I learned to drive in Chicago & then moved to Seatte, where I found (to my astonishment) that even in light traffic freeway drivers travel at an average of less than the speed limit—the only city where I’ve seen such timid behavior. Not that they’re good drivers, just slow.

jerv's avatar

@gasman In Eastern MA, they do not always change lanes when they go to overtake you; they just speed up and leave i to you to get out of the way. If you leave more than a car-length, somebody will squeeze in.

In VT, they generally drive the speed limit; a little slow on a sunny summer day, but the same speed on ice in a whiteout.

In Seattle, they drive slowly unless/until you go to pass them, or are in front of them. They will run up behind you at 10-over, pass you, then slow down to 5-under, but will speed up when you change lanes to go around. Sometimes, the only reason I get anywhere is that people interpret the huge skull on my hood to mean that I am more homicidal than I actually am and I intimidate them out of my way.

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