Have you ever been tailgated by another driver while riding your motorcycle? If so, you know how scary and rattling it can be. Tailgating is when a driver follows you too closely, leaving little or no space between your vehicles. This behavior is highly dangerous, especially for motorcyclists who are more vulnerable on the road.
If you encounter a tailgater on the highway, it is important to remember the five steps to approaching the situation safely and calmly.
Get more distance between you
When dealing with a tailgater, it is essential to prioritize increasing the distance between you and the other driver. This becomes even more crucial when you cannot pull over or switch lanes. Doing so allows you more time to react and more room to maneuver if the tailgater rear-ends you.
Use your signals early
To effectively communicate your intentions to a tailgater, use your signals promptly and clearly. This includes using turn signals, brake lights and hand signals. Doing so helps the tailgater predict your actions and reduce the risk of a crash.
Let the driver pass calmly
If the driver is not backing off, find a safe place to pull over or change lanes and let them pass. You should not show any aggressiveness by suddenly braking or speeding up. Any sudden movements might signal to the other party that you are challenging them and result in aggravation.
You must remember that you are still driving a motorcycle on the highway. Oftentimes, drivers get distracted and focus all their attention on the tailgater. However, you should not let the tailgater anger or distract you. You must remain calm and avoid engaging with them by making eye contact, gesturing or yelling. Your primary focus should be on the road and your surroundings to keep yourself and others safe.
Most of the time, tailgaters are people in distress. However, that does not excuse them from their dangerous behavior. There are specific road rules and regulations that all drivers, including tailgaters, should adhere to. Because tailgating is illegal in California, they could receive a fine of up to $238 and one point on their driving record. And if you are involved in an accident caused by a tailgater, you could receive compensation for any injuries or damages you have suffered.