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Be warned, tailgaters, the cops have you in their sights

By Charlotte Harper - 5 October 2016 20

Do not tailgate

How does tailgating make you feel? Does it make you want to speed up over the limit to allow the impatient person behind you reach their destination faster, or to slow down, to try to send them the message that sitting on your tail like that is just not on?

It happens to me so often, I’ve thought about making a sign I can wave out the window at them to say back off. The stencil on the car above might not be a bad idea. A rear dashcam is another thing I’ve wondered about. I drive at the speed limit, so there is no cause for their frustration, just my fear in the face of it.

Once, a driver in a green ute followed me all the way home, with a furious look on his face. I was too scared to stop the car so pretended I’d made a wrong turn and kept driving in and out of loop streets in our suburb until he eventually gave up. Being nervous about parking at home in case he came looking for the house with our car out front, I rang the police for assistance. My children were very shaken by the whole experience and are not keen on green utes as a result of it.

These days, I indicate and pull over to allow them to overtake. It seems a much safer option than riding it out at the speed limit or slowing down and antagonising them further.

This month, ACT Policing officers are going to be on the lookout for tailgating offenders.

Tailgating drivers face a $340 Traffic Infringement Notice fine and loss of one demerit point for driving behind another vehicle too closely to stop safely.

The obvious downsides of tailgating are that the driver won’t have enough time to brake and avoid a collision if needed, but also the increased feeling of intimidation and distraction caused to the driver in front.

Acting Officer in Charge of Traffic Operations Ken Hedges has asked that all drivers observe the two second rule and travel at least 3 seconds behind the vehicle in front.

“This distance should of course be increased when driving in low light or at night and especially when it is raining,” he says.

What’s Your opinion?


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20 Responses to
Be warned, tailgaters, the cops have you in their sights
1
devils_advocate 11:11 am
06 Oct 16
#

The 3 second rule is obsolete, given the proliferation of 2 tonne+ suvs all over the road and the reaction times of the (very) average Canberra driver.

Learned this the hard way when I had my car written off by a landcruiser that decided to park in my back seat.

2
Garfield 11:51 am
06 Oct 16
#

All I can say is its about time. In my opinion tail gating is much more dangerous than going a little over the speed limit but police never seem to care. It will be interesting to see how many infringement notices they issue, as I notice someone doing it just about every time I get in the car.

3
pink little birdie 4:50 pm
06 Oct 16
#

You might want to look through the archive on here. A menacing green ute has appeared on here before.
My guess is that the green ute is well know to police

4
gazket 5:01 pm
06 Oct 16
#

it’s obvious if you drive under the speed limit you will be tailgated because others want to do the allowed limit .

There are a few dick wad drivers who back up 20/30 cars in traffic and get pleasure from it. I see it every morning on William Hovel Drive some dick wad will turn right out of Drake Brockman drive and do 70kph on the single lane double lines section leaving Higgins all the way till they to the double lanes then accelerate away.

coming home this way no one does 70 every one does 80/90 because there are 2 lanes and people will just pass them,

There is no defined distance anyway the law just says safe distance. I’ve seen NASCAR’s touching bumpers and drafting for 400 laps safely.

5
bigred 8:10 pm
06 Oct 16
#

Is it a two second or three second rule? my recall is the car and motorcycle advice is two and the heavier stuff three. I find three safer. Should the plods read this I suggest they amend their advice.

Anyone offended by particular incidences of tailgating should report the matters to Ken and see if anything actually happens.

6
JimCharles 10:04 pm
06 Oct 16
#

There’s also the extreme problem of drivers pulling into a lane in front of vehicles travelling faster and taking their braking space. If the 2-3 second rule is to be applied, it should also apply to the decision to pull into a lane in front of another driver. This is FAR more common than tailgating.

It’s not the job of any road user to interrupt the progress of another vehicle because they want to enforce the law, you must put safety first…get out of the way and let the police and speed camera’s deal with it. More incidents are caused by hesistant or obstinate drivers being deliberately antagonistic using the weak defence that they are inside the law. There are laws and there are universal driving codes. You can be inside the law and outside the driving code and actually contribute to increased offences through unreasonable behaviour.
I’m quite happy to move over for some moron in a Ute and watch him blaze off into the distance…..let the cops get him and let me get home safely. But, even worse, are the complete idiots who start slamming their brakes on in front of people to make them back off. That is MUCH more likely to cause an accident and these drivers need a quick handcuffing and an overnight in jail watching videos of car crashes and seeing the state of victims. If they’re not mature enough to put safety first, they shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel of a car.
The police need to take a leaf out of the UK police’s book (after public pressure) and start ticketing these stubborn drivers who refuse to keep left if they’re not overtaking, irrespective of whether they’re keeping to the speed limit or not.
Indecision and hesitancy causes confusion, aggravation, accidents and road rage and if the objective is to have safer roads, a lot need educating in mature driving philosophies and not just base mechanics.
I saw one this morning on the Parkway holding up a line of traffic going down the hill towards Glenloch and it was eventually slowly undertaken by a 50 ton truck who had to speed up because this jerk was trundling along parallel with about 20 cars behind it. Was that driver taking responsibility for everyone queued up behind, compounding poor positioning and multiples of increased risk of a pile up? That is incredibly dangerous travelling alongside a truck on a downhill stretch with all the bumps and weaving about. I backed right off and slowed to about 60 to keep out of harms way from the lot of them.,,but then somebody could have run in the back of me because everyone else was going 80-85? You see smashed up cars every day on by the side of straight roads for no discernible reason…it’s not all due to speeding.
Keeping blindly to the speed limit after you’ve deliberately put yourself and others in a dangerous situation is not clever at all and shows no understanding of driving or safety. Speed up, get past, then pull to the left out of the flippin’ way for goodness sake, the only people allowed to obstruct progress of other drivers are emergency services or official road workers, not the public.

7
wildturkeycanoe 8:59 am
07 Oct 16
#

This isn’t going to work if police are busy stopping shoplifters at self serve checkouts in supermarkets. It is rare to see police cars on the roads, even after announcements like “This month police are targeting xxx”. Without resources there is little motivation for the public to take heed of the warnings.
Even when the public has evidence of traffic infringements via dash cams, it doesn’t get very often followed up because the plod are too busy. They need more staff in order for proper enforcement to happen.

8
Maya123 11:05 am
07 Oct 16
#

I had my last car written off by someone who I thought was driving too close, but maybe not close enough that I would have called them a tailgater. The car in front stopped suddenly; I managed to avoid them, but the car behind slammed right up my rear, writing my car off. Many people might think they are driving at a safe distance, but basically they have no idea. And I wonder how bad the rest of their driving is. I like to keep a safe distance between me and the driver in front, even if this allows another vehicle to slot in. So…it’s easy to drop back again.
I was tail gated a couple of days ago in Sydney and I was definitely NOT under the speed limit. This workers’ vehicle kept getting closer and closer until they were right up my rear. I can only think they were playing a game with me and trying to intimidate me, which they did succeed to do, plus annoy me. (Who knows why. I was a female, I had ACT plates, they were just idiots…) I knew that if I made an emergency stop (there was a fair bit of traffic about) they were 100% going to slam into the rear of my vehicle. Plus I was about to need to turn right, with no right hand turning lane. So, a risk I know, but not as much as continuing with them there and maybe even managing to get closer, I lightly touched the brakes. They suddenly dropped WAY back and their vehicle swerved. They seemed to get a bigger fright then I expected. I hope they remember this, but I bet they will continue to tailgate. The only other alternative I had was to speed up and try to race away from them by breaking the law and speeding, and who’s to say that they wouldn’t have kept up with me and continued to play their game. Besides, I could only speed up until I caught up to the vehicle in front, and then what! I was shaken after, but the compensation I had was they appeared perhaps even more shaken. Not a nice experience being tail gated, especially after already having had a car written off.

9
Holden Caulfield 11:11 am
07 Oct 16
#

“These days, I indicate and pull over to allow them to overtake. It seems a much safer option than riding it out at the speed limit or slowing down and antagonising them further.”

This is by far the best approach, and I’ve tried them all. Except the extremely daft practice of slamming on my brakes, which some people think is a clever way to deal with tailgaters. It’s not.

To be fair, I’ll usually only pull over to get rid of a tailgater on a drive to Sydney or the like, but it just saves the hassle and build up of frustration and costs me less than a minute of travel time. That’s a small price to pay.

Serenity now, haha!

10
Holden Caulfield 11:13 am
07 Oct 16
#

Garfield said :

All I can say is its about time. In my opinion tail gating is much more dangerous than going a little over the speed limit but police never seem to care. It will be interesting to see how many infringement notices they issue, as I notice someone doing it just about every time I get in the car.

Unfortunately, tailgating is more difficult to quantify compared with speeding, so that makes it more difficult to enforce. And that’s before you get to the already noted issue of there not being enough Police presence on the roads in general.

11
Maya123 1:00 pm
07 Oct 16
#

I passed a sensor once that was measuring the distance between cars and if too close a warning sign would show saying something like ‘Too close, get back’. Perhaps sensors could be used to record tail-gaters number plates.

12
Maya123 1:04 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Holden Caulfield said :

“These days, I indicate and pull over to allow them to overtake. It seems a much safer option than riding it out at the speed limit or slowing down and antagonising them further.”

This is by far the best approach, and I’ve tried them all. Except the extremely daft practice of slamming on my brakes, which some people think is a clever way to deal with tailgaters. It’s not.

To be fair, I’ll usually only pull over to get rid of a tailgater on a drive to Sydney or the like, but it just saves the hassle and build up of frustration and costs me less than a minute of travel time. That’s a small price to pay.

Serenity now, haha!

There is a difference between “slamming” on the brakes and a light touch. And what happens when you indicate to turn off and the tailgater refuses to get back to let you slow to turn off? That has happened to me. Turning off needs more brakes than a light tap of the brakes.

13
Garfield 1:11 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Holden Caulfield said :

Garfield said :

All I can say is its about time. In my opinion tail gating is much more dangerous than going a little over the speed limit but police never seem to care. It will be interesting to see how many infringement notices they issue, as I notice someone doing it just about every time I get in the car.

Unfortunately, tailgating is more difficult to quantify compared with speeding, so that makes it more difficult to enforce. And that’s before you get to the already noted issue of there not being enough Police presence on the roads in general.

I use the old “one-one-thous-and-two-one-thous-and” to estimate the appropriate minimum gap in traffic. All too often when looking at someone tailgating I’ll get as far as “one-” indicating a gap of somewhere around 1/4 of a second. Those people are not that hard to spot and should be fined until they change their behaviour. As you and others have said, not enough police on the roads is a real problem and the reason I said it will be interesting to see how many infringements actually get issued. The obsession with speed means most police on the roads are operating speed traps rather than watching for and penalising dangerous driving.

14
JimCharles 4:51 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Maya123 said :

I passed a sensor once that was measuring the distance between cars and if too close a warning sign would show saying something like ‘Too close, get back’. Perhaps sensors could be used to record tail-gaters number plates.

This technology is available in cars now for the anti-collision technology, measuring the distance to the car in front and applying brakes. It’s not a big step to turn it into a driver’s warning mechanism for measuring safe breaking distances factoring in rain when required.
Cars will be aware of each other and the one in front can flash a message on the rear.

15
switch 5:07 pm
07 Oct 16
#

Garfield said :

I use the old “one-one-thous-and-two-one-thous-and” to estimate the appropriate minimum gap in traffic.

Murrumbidgee one, Murrumbidgee two… to count in seconds is more Canberran.

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