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Why Do Pickup Truck Drivers Tailgate?

The Auto Sunday is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Why do pickup truck drivers tailgate? Is this really a thing?

Tailgating is when a driver drives too close to the vehicle in front of them without leaving enough space to stop safely.

Rear End Collision

A bumper to bumper traffic is an example of tailgating but without one key element: speed. What makes tailgating dangerous is that both drivers are running at an average or higher than average speed, which could potentially lead to a collision if the lead vehicle stops abruptly.

Now, this isn’t really just a question of why pickup truck drivers tailgate because everyone does this in one way or another whether they really mean to or not.

So let’s discuss how to deal with situations like these instead of dwelling on the notion that only pickup truck drivers do this because even grandma is quite capable of doing this.

But Why Is There A Stigma On Pickup Truck Drivers?

Why is there a stigma that only pickup truck drivers tailgate?

Let’s take a look at some of the instances and commonalities of these statistics.

First off, most of the reported pickup truck drivers who tailgate drive automatic transmission, oversized trucks. Narrowing it further, the ground clearance of these trucks are inches and up. Based on the driver’s skill level, these are usually drivers who’ve only driven for a year or two or older drivers who have more than 10 years of driving experience.

Another surprising fact is that most of the drivers involved shifted from driving sedans or cars with lower ground clearances. Some have tickets for speeding and reckless driving.

Based on those facts, one can put the blame on a higher vantage point and an insecure driver as main factors leading to a rear end collision. This is what comprises the majority of those pickup truck drivers who tailgate and eventually figure in an accident.

And to benchmark that against the entirety of road collisions, that number is only a small percentage of the total number of accidents attributed to tailgating involving pickup trucks.

This is basically a misconception based on image. People already have this image in their minds that pickup truck drivers tailgate because their oversized vehicles make them larger and meaner. And yet, most pickup trucks aren’t even driven on highways and city roads. These vehicles are used mostly elsewhere.

Could it be that just because pickups are easily noticeable due to their size that people immediately pass judgment?

It’s an unfair stigma that should be eradicated and the focus should be set on educating people the dangers of tailgating and how to deal with tailgaters.

Let’s look into that, shall we?

How To Deal With Tailgaters

The only controllable factor you have behind the wheel is your own self. How you react to certain situations is entirely up to you. Choose your attitude and you’ll always have an outcome that is to your advantage.

Choosing to take the high road and controlling your emotions will always lead to positive results. 

Don’t ever make the mistake of trying to teach them a lesson by slamming on your brakes hard so they’ll rear-end you. The cost of repairs and hassle of dealing with insurance lawyers is not worth the time and trouble.

Road Accident

Here are some things you can do to deal with tailgaters and come out with a win.

Always Drive In A Calm Manner

You need to remember that driving is a privilege and not a right. You’ll be sharing the road with thousands of others and everyone has the right to use the highway.

Try to keep your mind solely focused on driving instead of thinking of things that are troubling to you.

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Always Keep A Safe Distance

Maintaining a safe distance is always your best bet to avoid figuring in an accident with the person in front or behind you. There are several other factors that affect this like your speed, the weather, visibility and other road conditions.

Always Keep A Safe Distance

When all else fails, drive defensively. Keep at least one car length between you and the vehicle in front of you when driving at low to average speeds and two or more car lengths when driving faster. If any of the factors are present, keep the minimum distance to at least three car lengths.

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Just Let Them Pass You

As soon as you spot a tailgater behind you, check to see if you can move to another lane to let them pass. There’s no point in trying to keep that person behind you simply because you think they’re being rude.

Plus, they could really be in an emergency and you’re in the way.

Let them pass and then resume driving as calmly as possible.

Reasons Why People Tailgate

There are several reasons why people tailgate. Here are some examples.

Preventing Other Drivers From Cutting In

I know. That’s really rude. You’re in your proper lane and here comes this pickup truck trying to muscle its way in to yours simply because they want to cut in and get ahead of you.

That can really be annoying.

And it can really feel like a win if you succeed in not allowing that obnoxious driver from getting ahead of you. What you don’t know is that you might be doing something illegal. Tailgating in any shape or form is illegal for very obvious reasons.

Car Rear Ended By A Truck

This could also cause that other person to have a bout of road rage. One thing could lead to another and you might not like the outcome.

Reach in to your inner Buddha and find the calmness, patience, and mindfulness to be the bigger person.

Driver Negligence And Complacency

Some experienced drivers overestimate their own skills and become complacent with their driving. Evidence shows that negligence is often the reason why drivers tailgate and end up in rear-end collisions.

Don’t be one of those drivers. You don’t want to end up a statistic. Always remain focused and alert on the road when you’re behind the wheel.

Sometimes It’s a Passive Form Of Aggression

Anyone can be a victim to a passive form of road rage in the form of tailgating. It can happen anytime to anyone.

Road Rage

And it can be triggered by the smallest things like someone slowly creeping into another person’s lane or flashing headlights and/or honking one’s horns.

Since there isn’t any clear form of communication between drivers, this can be taken as a form of aggression leading both drivers involved to act out of character.

Racing Approved Tailgating

There is an acceptable form of tailgating though. That’s the one you’ll find on the race track. It’s also called slipstreaming.

This is when the main vehicle drives behind a lead vehicle at top speed so that the car in front takes the brunt of the draft leaving very little in its trail for the winning car. At the last second, the lead vehicle veers off allowing the chosen car to slingshot to the finish line.

This shaves off the seconds on the lap timer allowing a win for the team.

This type of maneuver takes years of practice and trust between all cars involved. There is constant communication and correction on all cars involved, which is very much unlike what you’d find on regular roads.

Trailing And Forming Columns

Another form of acceptable tailgating is when two or more drivers who know each other are trailing or forming a column. This could be because they’re forming a procession or trying to prevent other cars from coming in between them for security purposes.

One more reason is when the lead vehicle is leading the formation and providing instructions to everyone else following. In this case, an unknown vehicle between them might cause a miscommunication so the vehicles following have to close the gap.

Hazards Of Tailgating

Tailgating is very dangerous to the tailgater. The driver has little to no distance safe enough to stop before figuring in a collision with what is in front of them.

There is also a massive decrease in the margin of error afforded to the driver in this case. Because there is another car blocking their view and their focus is trained on not hitting it, their awareness of their surroundings are limited.

If the vehicle in front suddenly stops, a crash is highly imminent, especially if the tailgater has a vehicle with faulty, worn, or non-existent brakes.

Tailgating Is Illegal

As a reminder to everyone, tailgating is illegal, especially if this is done on public roads for very obvious reasons.

You may not be aware of instances when you do this, so it is highly advised that you always be aware of your surroundings when you drive.

There are constant reminders on the road that drivers should maintain a two second gap or at least one car length between them and the vehicle in front to be safe.

In some states, tailgating is punishable with a fine and could rack up penalty points on your driver’s license.

Accident

Always be focused. Always be alert. Remain calm at all times.

And to help you stay alert, equip your car with a high-quality dash cam. Get the VAVA Dual dash cam. Even though it’s pricier than other dashcams, it’s a good front and rear dash cam that comes with night vision, 24-hour parking monitor, and a built-in G-sensor that quickly detects sudden collisions.

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In Conclusion:

To answer the question of why pickup truck drivers tailgate, the answer is it’s not just them. Almost everyone does. And even the safest driver can fall victim to a momentary lapse in judgment.

There is never any safe reason to tailgate. Even when you do it in the race track or in a procession, the possibility of rear-ending the vehicle in front of you is a high possibility.

Don’t do it unless it’s really necessary. Like in an emergency or something.

Just remember: tailgating is illegal pretty much everywhere. If in doubt, just take your foot off the accelerator and drive as safely as you possibly can.

 

Related Questions:

Is Tailgating Really Just Reserved For Pickup Trucks?

No. Tailgating isn’t just relegated to pickup truck drivers. Tailgating is a form of road rage that manifests itself in all types of situations. Even the safest driver can tailgate. Cars & motorcycles even do this. The most unlikely people do this. So, don’t think only pickup truck drivers tailgate.

Am I Allowed To Tailgate An Ambulance?

No. You should never tailgate an emergency vehicle even if someone you know is in there. There’s no reason for that. You won’t be of much help to the paramedics inside & you’ll definitely cause a delay if you accidentally bump the ambulance. Let the experts do their job. Follow from a safe distance.

How Do You Deal With People Who Tailgate?

Remain calm and move aside if you’re able. Oftentimes, road accidents happen because of people losing their tempers behind the wheel. If you spot someone tailgating you, the best way to react is to remain calm and just let them pass. It’s not worth getting mad & having an accident with a tailgater.

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