This is not to be confused with the other variety – a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. The one I’m talking about involves people driving too close to the back of your car to stop in time. It’s one of my top bugbears.
It’s not that I drive slowly – on the contrary I actually go a bit too fast, especially on the motorway. Today on my way around the M25 I got tailgated by a white van in the fast lane, stuck behind a row of traffic at about 70mph.
What’s the point? It simply doesn’t make any sense in my mind. It’s not like I can drive into the car in front of me so why do it? The only outcome is them hitting the back of my car if I have to stop suddenly. I had a little rant to myself in the car and eventually the van moved across into the slow lane and undertook everyone at high speed (possibly even more stupid).
I’ve several theories on why people tailgate:
- Frustration and the vain hope that all (12 for example) vehicles in front, will accommodate them and move out of the way (not very realistic).
- Anger or stress – someone who’s late or just had a run-in somewhere.
- Stupidity and a lack of attention or thought to safety. I think there are actually people who do it out of habit and have no idea how close they are.
None of these sit comfortably with me and I once got so mad with a driver that I let him go past then pulled out and tailgated him for about 3 miles. I think he was a bit freaked out but perhaps he’ll think twice about doing it next time. That was years ago and I would refrain from doing that now (although it’s tempting sometimes).