What should you do when another vehicle is following you very closely? What should you do when another vehicle is following you very closely?

  • A. Move to the left and slow down to make it easier for it to pass

  • B. Speed up so you're not holding it up

  • C. Pump your brakes to tell them to drop back

  • D. Put your hazard lights on

  •  
    The correct answer is A
     
    Correct. If you are holding up a vehicle, you must let it pass
     
 
 
 

Scenarios when other vehicles might follow you closely

In general, you should let other vehicles past if you are holding them up, but there will be scenarios where other vehicles might follow you closely and it is temporary:

  1. You are in the left-hand lane of a multi-lane road and a vehicle has moved from the right-hand lane in behind you. The vehicle might drop back, or it might be waiting to exit into a side street or off-ramp further ahead.
  2. Traffic has suddenly slowed and the driver needs time to adjust the following distance
  3. Traffic has been slow for a while and the driver behind you is frustrated. There's not much you can do about that driver's frustration as even if you let him by, he will be frustrated in front of you instead, and likely to run into the back of the vehicle in front if it stops suddenly. If you are in a queue of traffic and you are all moving at the same speed, the driver behind you will not make much extra progress just by overtaking you. You should give yourself more distance to the vehicle in front of you so that you have more of a buffer if you need to brake suddenly.
  4. Hypermilers: while this isn't popular in New Zealand (thankfully), drivers have been known to use the slipstream of vehicles in front to improve their fuel economy
  5. Drivers of tall vehicles that can see over your vehicle will often feel more comfortable tailgating. This doesn't make it much less dangerous because if it's you that brakes first, it's their reaction time that will cause them to hit the back of your vehicle. Again, it's best to leave slightly more buffer between you and the vehicle in front so that you can brake more progressively while still stopping promptly (progressive braking is where you start braking gently and gradually increase the braking force).