Don’t drive so close to me! How grey nomads should cope with tailgaters

Published: November 1, 2023

It’s a major bugbear of nearly all grey nomads … but it seems the authorities are really winding up to crack down on the incredibly dangerous practice of tailgating.

Victorian motoring organisation, the RACV, has just issued a call to all motorists in the state to be more aware of how close they’re driving to the vehicle in front of them.

RACV Policy Lead Safety Manager, Sam Lynch, said aggressive tailgating could be very intimidating to the vehicle in front.

“Being tailgated can be intimidating and can divert the concentration of a motorist, resulting in collisions or leading to unsafe driving speeds,” Mr Lynch said. “While some drivers may be tempted to box the tailgater in and even tap on your brakes to send a message, it’s simply never worth the risk to put yourself in harm’s way.”

Mr Lynch had clear advice for grey nomads other motorists who feel they are being tailgated.

“RACV recommends that if you’re being tailgated or you’re uncomfortable with the proximity of the vehicle behind you, stay calm, maintain a safe speed, prioritise safety, focus on the road ahead and move over or let them pass when it’s safe to do so,” he said.

Mr Lynch said all motorists needed to consider the safety risks around tailgating, with most underestimating the distance needed to stop their vehicles.

“Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you isn’t just a safe driving technique, it’s required by law, although a ‘sufficient distance’ can change depending on the road conditions and circumstance, it is recommended to keep at least a two-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front,” he said. “To calculate the two-second gap, pick a fixed object on the side of the road and as the vehicle in front of you passes it, start counting. If the front of your car reaches that object before you get to two, you’re travelling too close … slow down and increase the distance between the vehicles.”

Mr Lynch said that for motorists towing a caravan or driving a heavy vehicle, or driving in low visibility conditions, or if it’s wet or foggy, at night, or if they’re tired, that gap should be extended to at least four seconds.

“The bigger the gap between the two vehicles, the more time you have to break or react to avoid a serious collision,” he said.

Mr Lynch also said that 41% of RACV motor collision claims were due to rear-end collisions, which could be due to a variety of reasons including tailgating, the front driver not breaking in time or the rear driver accidentally pressing on the accelerator.

“In addition to the obvious safety reasons, motorists should also remember that in the event of a collision, it is often the motorist who runs into the back of another vehicle that is at fault from an insurance perspective,” Mr Lynch said. “The at fault driver may be required to pay the excess on the policy, which will depend on what the policyholder has chosen.”

Victoria Police figures showing over 10,000 fines for tailgating have been handed out to motorists over the last five years. In Victoria, tailgating, or ‘failing to drive a sufficient distance behind a vehicle,’ can see offenders receive a fine of up to $248 and lose a demerit point.

A total of 2108 infringements for this dangerous practice were given to drivers in Victoria in 2022, up 5% from 2001 infringements in 2021.

  • Have you been the victim of tailgating? How do you deal with the situation? Comment below.

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Not much to do with grey nomads ( I hate that tag )
It’s irresponsible people full stop.
There is a law for following vechiles.

Just book them.
Take a hard stance is what’s needed and not only for tailgating.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ron Bennett

I have not seen a Police Officer on the Forrest Highway in WA in more than a year.
I suppose they do not have enough officers?

spot on Rob.
went down south 2 weeks ago
Did see one policecar.

Use the UHF , I have traveled with my caravan around most of Australia several times ,and yes I’m in my fifties .I’m absolutely sick to death with dumb ass drivers , that believe they’re the best drivers that “man/women created “,
Ive never had an accident in my life, type of scenario!!
But I will guarantee you have caused a few, !! .
It’s time to pull your finger out and understand that the world doesn’t revolve around ignorance and bad driving. Especially when you think your situation is more important than everyone else!!

Just returned from trip around Australia. “They” say it is because “we” travelling too slowly! Especially bad experiences in WA with road trains. Travelling at 90klms they tailgate and it is frightening. Even if you try to pull over you are scared to slow ready to get off the road. Additionally, particularly in WA, rest areas and pull off areas usually have a notice 1k before the entry. They do not indicate which side of the road it is, and the next sign is right at the exit.

Hi when a road train is coming up behind us they will catch up rather quickly . If we see them coming from a distance away we try pulling off the road then and it’s not so
Intimidated. We have a UHF and speak to them and say we are ready for them to pass and will pull over as safely as we can that way they will not tail gate us , that’s if they have clear way ahead. We pull over for all trucks to pass by when we see them coming from behind as best we can even for cars ..we slow on a passing lane sidings as well it’s easier and safer for us and we feel by letting them pass they are getting their job done and we are safer to keep travelling behind them
. Of course you can do what ever you like and how you decide and I’m not telling what to do this us just what we have found to be the safest and most pleasant outcome .

That is absolutely what every driver should do, towing or not…well done. I’ve operated Road Trains and B-Doubles all over Australia + I also have a 22ft caravan I now get to annoy other drivers on the highway with! In my experience over the years, I would suggest as much as 75% of drivers DO NOT know how to drive…let alone safely! …and these days, people are taught how to pass a licence rather than actually learn how to drive?? Passing lanes are there to allow overtaking vehicles to pass, not for the slow vehicle to speed up not allowing anyone to pass!! The later happens 99% of the time these days and they wonder why people tail gate and get frustrated with slow drivers?? I’m a strong believer on introducing a towing licence for anything from a 6×4 box trailer?? I’ve witnessed far too many incidents and accidents over my many years on the highway. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best operator on the highway at 60 years young… I’m still learning new tips and tricks and encourage all of us to be patient and courteous to each other…HAPPY TRAVELS…

PS – It should be mandatory for every Towing Vehicle to be fitted with a UHF and Towing Mirrors…and use them accordingly every time you have someone creep up behind you!… Communication is the key to harmony on the highway!

Hi Jim, if you have a UHF, you could really annoy them by asking if they are close enough to read your Rego plate, or you could give it to them I have had very few problems with the truckies, I travel at 90-95kph as it is the most economical speed for our vehicle. I just contact them and ask them to let me know when they want to overtake, and they appreciate that you are aware of their presence

Yes I’ve been tailgated but only where the speed limit is more than 100 Klum/ hr. (As it’s illegal in most states) or on steep climbs and descents while towing,,
If drivers ALL DRIVERS did at least 5 Kim/hr below the limit ,obviously if road conditions prevail and learn how to look in THOSE THINGS CALLED MIRRORS the tailgating wouldn’t be so prevalent..
Yes I agree with Ron as to the tag “grey nomads” there are a whole lot of people who either don’t know the road rules,, or simply can’t drive ( a greasy stick up a ____ a—e ) or just don’t give a rats,,but there are a lot who shouldn’t be driving cause they feel Safe doing 60-70 on the open roads.
This is a really good reason why tailgating happens..
I’ve been towing trailers and vans on and off for over 56 years and when I become too slow or incompetent on the roads I’ll stop driving..
It’s time EVERYONE used COMMONSENSE ( if that’s at all probable these days of following procedures) and took responsibility for their own actions..

In support for the GREY nomads at least most of us have and do the above..
I await the criticism…
Regards to all Wayne Evans..

,

When I have a tailgater I pull over at the next available spot regardless of the conditions at he time and let them go through. I have had Double “B’s”just about riding my trailer when slowing down to pull over, but I put that down to the inexperience of the driver. We have forward and rear dash-cams and they have been a Godsend at times when trying to explain something to the Police. Everyone should have then.

Make sure you have a big tow bar. My 4t tow hitch never comes off

First: Responding to Jim. If you look closer at the Rest Area sign there is usually an arrow below the title/symbol indicating which side the bay is located.
Second: I have the reverse problem to tailgaters and that is you leave the designated distance behind the vehicle in front only to have ‘yahoos’ pull in front of you cancelling out your buffer zone and making you brake.
PS In WA I travel at the designated towing limit of 100km.

We have had vehicles tailgating us and my way of dealing with the situation is to flash hazard lights a few times and that has mostly worked

I think this is just a over reaction, there are just a lot of bad drivers, FULL stop. Has nothing to do with grey nomads

Copy that, I’ve said that all along for years now about people not knowing how to drive…although as much as I hate to say it, there are a lot of terrible Grey Nomad driver’s causing havoc on our highways too! Unfortunately I experience it more often than not when I’m contract driving B-Doubles!

When I was a kid, my father instilled in me to leave 1 car lenght for every 10 mph speed that you are travelling, so I guess that is for every 15 kph now.
It is quite difficult to maintain this distance for as soon as you do, there is someeone trying to get inbetween you and the car ahead.
I find the 2 second idea hard to interperate as you are driving along and concentrating on the road.

Its much easier to judge 2 seconds than car lengths when you’re moving. The faster you go, the more distance 2 seconds is between cars.

Never have an issue driving a 12m bus + towed 4WD @18 ton plus, can’t see them
trucks I just contact then for passing on the CB, but we do cruse on a 100 on major highways

There appears to be a number of people posting comments who feel that this article is aimed at “Grey Nomads” as being the drivers tail gaiting. My reading is that they are the victims of this practise and the article is about how to deal with this problem. As the article says, the practise is dangerous, bullying and quite often quite frightening. It can result in the ‘victim’ going too fast for their own safety, or pulling off the road where it is unsuitable for their RV, like onto gravel, a too narrow edge, or a big drop from the bitumen.
That being said, the real danger with tai gaiting is that the following car does not have a clear view of what traffic is coming and there is a risk of pulling out in front of an oncoming car. They can only start accelerating when they have moved over so will take longer on the wrong side of the road. Then there is the risk of the front vehicle doing an emergency stop, the short distance between will result in a rear ender with all the terrible consequences of the impact.
Having a safe following distance, whatever the circumstances, is not only good driving practise, it is much safer!
And remember RV drivers, keep the distance between yourself and other RVs and big vehicles long enough to allow faster traffic to overtake safely. I think the given distance is three vehicle lengths or 100-metres!

We drove up the moss vale rd from Nowra and back not towing. We wanted to turn right into manning falls. Good road great vision. We had a pantec truck behind us pushing us. Hubby couldn’t put the right hand blinker on or slow down he had to pull left off the road into leaf litter branches etc in our 4×4 very dangerously. Otherwise we would have had that truck up our back. We are full timers.

I ride a motorbike and avoid tall gateing, however some RV’s and caravans are difficult to see around, and at times many are road hogs, that go slow when it is impossible to pass and speed up when there are overtaking lanes available.
BTW that applys to all ages not just us oldies.. Its simple really be aware of cars and Motorbikes behind you, it seems common courtesy has gone out the window for a lot of drivers and riders.

Last edited 8 months ago by Stephen Dove

if it’s safe just start to slow down and they will go around you
the speed limit might be 110 but it does not mean you have to do 110

Last edited 8 months ago by Grumpy

It’s very annoying to be stuck behind a slow moving vehicle. In a 100 kmh speed limit zone towing at 90 kmh is not a problem but far too many drivers are doing 70-80 kmh and oblivious of a long line of vehicles behind and increasing in number.

Also, I doubt that many drivers have checked their speedometer accuracy. My 4WD displays 100 kmh but is travelling at 93 kmh. Therefore, if 70-80 kmh is the chosen speed most often the vehicle is 5 kmh to 10 kmh slower.

Tailgating has never worried me. It will cause you to become so distracted that you forget to watch the way you are going.

Well it should worry you!!…not meaning to pick on you directly here. If you’re being tailgated, you’re obviously holding traffic up and you should allow them the opportunity to pass you as soon as possible and it’s safe to do so?? Holding people up only creates frustration and with that comes stupidity! So the sooner motorists allow traffic to move at their selected speeds, the less issues there are!…

I’m with Tim. I worry about what is in front of me not what is behind. Just because one is being tailagted does not automatically mean you are the cause – perhaps it is just a clown in too much of a hurry.

These ignorant driver’s holding people up are the absolute problem in most cases, because not everyone wants to move at the same speed!! Mirrors are there for a reason!! I see it all too often in my 250,000kms – 300,000kms per annum on the highways of this amazing country, where slow driver’s cause a lot of unnecessary issues!!

I see lots of motorhomes and caravans with trucks right behind them trying to overtake. When I see a truck catching me I proactively call the truck driver in UHF channel 40 and advise them that when they are ready to overtake I will ease off to let them pass. This means that they get past you faster and are on the wrong side of the road for less time. Most truckies are happy for the assistance and I don’t have them riding my tail for long distances getting frustrated.

I drive mc trucks an if you want to tailgate,that is your problem..Because you always come of the worst.. Also if you are worried about a tailgate drive r you’re not watching what is in front of you,Let them tailgate you a watch what is in front . Their day will come………But starting to travel with our van there are people who don’t care about you or the people in there car JUST Them SELF.

I’m an x driving instructor and have always said, EVERYONE needs to pass a road rules and driving test, and towing licence EVERY 5 YEARS.

We’ve been the recipient of tailgaters so many times. I pop on the hazard lights for a few seconds and this mostly gets their attention and they back off.

If you look in your rear view mirror and see a tail back of cars move over or speed up.

The closer they get, the slower I go….

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