Driving tips

5 ways to deal with tailgaters

People will generally make allowances when they see you sweating it out in a driving school car. There'll always be the occasional driver who can't delay his extremely important journey by 2 minutes while you carefully pull out from an intersection- but thankfully he's a rare beast.

And then you pass your test. Suddenly you're like everyone else and there are no special allowances.

Because ingenie black box insurance rewards drivers for keeping to the speed limit, some in our community have felt pressurized to drive faster or get away at traffic lights and junctions quicker than is comfortable. You're going at the speed limit - as everyone should be - but someone behind you just can't bear it.

So, how do you deal with it?

  1. Understand the tailgater

    Sure you understand her - she's an impatient meanie. But here's the thing: not every tailgater is making an aggressive move out of frustration. Lots of people get too close to the car ahead because they're distracted or they've developed bad habits over the years.

    When someone is getting too close behind you, don't immediately assume they're angry with you. This will make you feel intimidated or even angry back - which can cause you to make mistakes. Imagine it's an 80-year-old grandma who took her test in 1951. Bless her.

  2. Don't question yourself

    If you're insured with ingenie and keeping a very careful eye on speed limits to make sure you don't damage your good driving score, there's a fair chance that you're the one in the right.

    Don't speed up because the driver behind is pressuring you: they'll probably speed up and close the gap again, which actually makes the danger worse because now you're being tailgated at speed. Plus if you speed up closer to the car in front of you, you’re in for a very dangerous sandwich.

    Just remember that going 40 in a 50 is a whole lot safer than speeding up to 50 in a 40 just because someone behind you is a bit too excited about getting home before the game.

    Remember: You can’t change how others drive but you CAN change how it affects you.
  3. Help the tailgater

    Okay, okay, you get it - the dude is in a hurry. You can help the poor fool by maintaining your speed so they can judge traffic and know when it’s safe to pass you. If you speed up and slow down, you’ll confuse and annoy them.

    You can also change your lane if it is safe to do so, or pull over to get them out of your hair for good.

  4. Recognize the dangers to YOU

    By recognizing the danger the vehicle behind is putting you in, you can then do something about it and decrease your risk of a crash.

    It is all too easy to be distracted by the tailgater and find yourself looking for too long in your rear-view mirror. Be aware of what they're doing but concentrate on the road ahead.

  5. Get an ingenie car sticker

    If you're insured with ingenie and have a smartbox installed, we'll send out a window sticker for you to put on your car that lets other drivers know that you're driving carefully for a reason: to stay safe and get your good driving discount.

    This may not make a particularly aggressive driver back off but it will make you feel better - it's a reminder that you're in the right and no one can make you do anything you don't want to.

    All our stickers are clear with white writing and don't use glue so they're easily removed. If you didn't get one yet and you'd like one, email us at


Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. She started learning to drive last year, at the age of 24.