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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 6 June, 2020

Back off, buddy: Irish drivers love to 'tailgate'

Survey shows we have three main ways of dealing with impatient drivers.

Don't be this guy.
Don't be this guy.
Image: tailgate rage via Shutterstock

DID YOU COMMUTE by car this morning? Notice anyone up close and personal in your rear view mirror?

You won’t have been alone. A survey of Irish motorists has said that almost four in five drivers have noticed tailgating – another vehicle getting dangerously close to the rear of yours – in the last year. Fifty-five per cent said that they had been tailgated at least once a month, while 40 per cent said they experience it on a weekly basis.

And how do Irish drivers respond to tailgating? According to the easytrip survey, we have three main ways of fighting back:

  • Pulling over/changing lanes to let driver pass (38 per cent)
  • Using brake lights to encourage driver to back off (27 per cent) 
  • Speeding up to get away (5 per cent)

Only three out of ten people surveyed admitted that they themselves were responsible for tailgating over the last year – 53 per cent of male drivers admitted it, while only 24 per cent of female drivers said they did. Tailgating appears to be more an act of aggression than genuine emergency measure as most said that they did it because they driver in front was “driving too slowly”.

And if that wasn’t rage enough for a busy Tuesday after the bank holiday, nine out of ten motorists surveyed said that they had flashed lights at a fellow road user to get them to move aside.

The minimum recommended following distance between cars in normal conditions should take two seconds to cover. That means that you pick a point (say, a lamp post) and count two full seconds between the time the vehicle in front passes it and when yours does. In wet weather, you should double that time.

Watch: Gardai release some examples of Ireland’s bad driving>

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