Having driving lessons in a crowded city like Brighton and Hove can be challenging, with roads busy with cars, motorbikes, cyclists and crossing pedestrians. What can make it even more difficult is some motorist’s habit of tailgating – or driving too closely behind the vehicle in front. It can be intimidating for new drivers to see a car looming up behind them in their mirrors.

In surveys tailgating frequently comes up as one of the most annoying driving habits cited by motorists. In a poll taken by insurance company Admiral of 3000 drivers tailgating topped the most annoying kind of action a driver can take!

Yet according to a poll by the road safety charity Brake over 50% of drivers admit to tailgating. With men as the worst tailgating offenders with 61% admitting to driving closer to a vehicle in front than is deemed safe. Only 46% of women drivers said they had been guilty of tailgating. At 56% young drivers are the most likely to tailgate, compared to 53% of all drivers.

Tailgating is very inconsiderate and, when taking stopping distances into account, potentially dangerous. If you find you are often a victim of tailgating however it might be worth readdressing your own driving habits.

While tailgating is dangerous no matter what the reasons behind it you might find you too are being an inconsiderate driver. Safespeed.org.uk suggests you might be going at an unnecessarily slow speed and holding up a queue on an A road. Or perhaps you might find you are often on the outside lane longer than you need to be – in spite of faster traffic behind and a clear left lane. “The advanced driver always keeps out of the way of other vehicles whenever practical.”

Confused.com say there are two types of tailgater, the passive and the aggressive. In order to shake them you need to know what kind is following you.

The aggressive tailgater is easy to spot. They want to get past you in order to drive faster and they use their vehicle to intimidate you either to into speeding up or moving out the way. An aggressive driver is more likely to succumb to road rage. In which case you are safer to just pull over when you find a safe spot and allow them to pass.

The passive tailgater is often not aware of what they are doing. It is a sign they might not be concentrating. Don’t be tempted to just speed up, you will only find yourself tailgating the car in front of you!

A better action to take is to create a wider gap between your car and the vehicle in front as a precaution, ideally extending it from 2 to 3 so as not to create a gap for the alert tailgater to try and use in order to overtake.

Flashing your brake lights might lose impact if you find you have to do it repeatedly. Better to ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually. The tailgater will be forced to follow suit.

When you learn to drive you should use this time to build up good driving habits! When you have you licence hopefully you will remember your time as a learner and make sure you keep to the 2 second rule, particularly when you find yourself behind a new learner!

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