My experience with tailgaters is that it has nothing to do with the speed you're driving. They are just lazy drivers, who just want to do what you do and not watch out for what is ahead or check their own speed. New Hampshire was the worst. They had these one lane roads with two lane passing zones every so often. I would pull into the right lane and slow down in the passing zone and they would just stay on my tail. And they have moose in New Hampshire. If had to slam on my brakes this fool would be sitting in my back seat.
My experience is similar to yours.I would often pick up tailgaters when driving the speed limit and sometimes when keeping up with the speed of traffic. Fortunatly I now live in a more rural area where trafic is not as heavy and the percentage of agressive drivers is lower.
I actually had a situation many years ago where i was driving on a freeway in rush hour traffic maintaing speed with the car ahead while keeping a reasonable following distance when a truck starts tailgating me. So I slow down gradually. Instead of backing off or changing lanes, this guy got more agressive about tailgating and started leaning on his horn. I felt that I had no choice but to further slow down. At that point, he had completly blocked the view out of my mirrors so it would have been unsafe for me to try to pull into another lane. By the time he finally pulled around me, I was going much slower than the traffic flow which must have made it even more difficult for him to pass.
@GeniusEE Or tailgatees could simply just stop being asses, by impeding traffic, and drive the speed limit.
Perhaps slowing down below the speed limit is the tailgatee's response to encourage the tailgater to pass. Slow reduction of speed by turning off the cruise control, not an aggresive jamming of brakes. Been there, and it always works. Just do not speed up too soon, let the donkey's rear orifice pass you - better to have it in front of you than behind you.
An exception is when approaching a traffic light - then yes, flash your brake lights to warn the taligater and slow down in anticipation of a light change. At least if you still get rear-ended the damage will not be as bad and your vehicle may not be written off as unrepairable.
I must say that where I usually drive in a suburb north of Dallas, Texas, USA, 99.9% of the rush hour drivers are extremely courteous and considerate. They do not tailgate, do not block intersections, and follow the "every 2nd car" rule for lane mergings during busy conditions. This was very refreshing to see after some of the other places I have had to drive in...
My experience is that if you drive at the speed limit you'll pick up plenty of tailgaters. If you want to get over into the right lane so that cars who want to exceed the speed limit can pass you, equally-agressive drivers will be passing you on the right so that you can't get over.
Remember, the speed limit is a maximum value assuming clear conditions, excellent visibility, smooth roads, and adequate distance to the driver ahead of you (2 seconds minimum is recommended in USA -- I've heard that 3-second following distance is required in Norway and they'll ticket you if you get closer than that). If you are being tailgated, defensive driving instructors recommend that you increase your following distance so that if the car in front hits the brakes you have plenty of time to slow down safely so that your tailgater doesn't rear-end you. This normally requires that you slow down a bit, which angers the tailgater further.
I recommend another project for Caleb: photograph the car following you if it violates the 2-second rule and e-mail the results to the DMV.
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