Clarksville, Tn — I recently posed the question on my Facebook page about how my fellow riders handle tailgaters. As expected, the responses ran the gamut of opinions.
I can’t say that I have had many instances of tailgaters running up on me, but occasionally, I’ll encounter someone who appears out of nowhere and it scares the living HELL out of me. Not being as experienced as some of you, I still get a little “jittery” when someone’s too close to me.
In my opinion, there’s not a lot of options to dealing with someone who wants to get a real close look at your license plate. If you’re on the interstate, and you’re in the passing lane, you can only wait until you can move to the cruising lane and let the idiot get past you.
If you’re on a backcountry road, you can only look for a place to pull over and let them by, or possibly, wait until they get a chance to pass you.
The bottom line, you’re in a “no win” situation if you try to escalate the situation. As much as you would like to do something about it, you’re at a real disadvantage on the motorcycle.
The WORST situation is when you’re stuck in backed up traffic somewhere with nowhere to go and some idiot wants to take a look in your tour pack.
Just a few things I found doing some research:
Mirrors. Adjust one of your mirrors to that you can see what’s directly behind you, even it it means adjusting your viewing angle. Tailgaters will often respond to quick flashes of a brake light. Don’t “brake-check” them, that’s asking for trouble. You might extend your left hand as if to say, “back off”. If neither works, you have to getaway, because you can’t win this fight.
When in doubt, modulate. A brake light modulator can attract attention from distracted drivers and not just during braking. Lightly dragging the brakes sprays a nice little burst of pulsating red light when you need it.
Just look alive! We’ve got nearly 180 degrees of forward and peripheral vision but none to the rear. Avoid being complacent and scan your mirrors constantly for trouble.
Now, some of the responses I got on my FB page included throwing ball bearings or marbles on the road at the car behind you. I don’t encourage that, but if that’s what suits you, then go for it. I think that just escalates the problem and is looking for trouble. I realize most of us aren’t going to shy away from trouble, but a smart man doesn’t necessarily go looking for it.
Besides, I have a journey to complete and this idiot is not part of the plan.
Be safe my friends and always keep an eye out for trouble.
Here are a couple of links I found on the issue: http://blog.ridersdiscount.com/how-to-handle-tailgaters-on-a-motorcycle/