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Driving Alone At Night - Harassment - Anyone Else?

(201 Posts)
LessMissAbs Thu 06-Feb-14 21:42:46

Tonight, while driving through roadworks on a motorway with a speed limit of 50mph, I was tailgated by a car with its full beam on. Really close tailgating. Smaller, less powerful car than mine so when I accelerated back up to national speed limit, it got left behind. It then caught up and tailgated again. Went on for miles. Eventually I slowed down to about 40mph, they were forced to overtake, and I continued to drive slowly so they didn't follow me home or find out where I lived. I'm pretty sure I was targeted because even in the dark, they noticed I was a lone woman driver (there were 3 young males in the car).

This has happened to me a few times. Has anyone else experienced it? I once had a much worse incident but want to see if other people have had similar experiences before going into that.

notyummy Mon 10-Feb-14 07:47:48

It seems like there are two kinds of incident here. One involves aggressive drivers tailgating others and behaving like a knob. I face these occasionally, as does my husband. The other incidents involve clearly dangerous individuals in terms of their specific intent to women and strike me as people who are intent on committing a criminal act (as opposed to an impatient-"/aggressive idiot in a car. I have never encountered one of these in 20 years of driving and none of my friends appear to (it sounds like that sort if thing you would mention.) Now we may have been lucky. I would say that I drive a lot, and have always needed to. I spend at least 12-15 hours a week in the car driving long distances for work, before factoring in all the short journeys that are domestic related. I drive all over the UK on my own for social reasons and always have done. I hope this thread doesn't make a nervous driver think that they are going to be the frequent victim of a sexually motivated crime because I would question the amount of evidence for that. There is plenty of evidence all around of equal opportunity knobs in cars- I watch them scare a range of people on yen roads everyday. It is true that the vast majority of men, but I think they choose to pick on anyone who happens to hold them up.

WitchWay Mon 10-Feb-14 07:21:59

I don't ever slam on my brakes when being tailgated but I do use my left foot to gently press the brake just a little, keeping my right on the accelerator, thus lighting up the brake-lights without slowing the car. Makes them think I'm braking & they back off.

Beavie Sun 09-Feb-14 23:10:07

In 16 years of driving I can thankfully say that nothing like this has ever happened to me. And I have driven A LOT, I was even a van driver for my job for a while.

Possibly this is mostly because I have always, without fail, owned shit old cars. My current one looks like the pope-mobile.

Mimishimi Sun 09-Feb-14 23:08:58

I hate tailgaters and have been harassed by them but I've never felt targeted solely because I'm a woman - generally these jerks move onto the next car once I've let them pass/have moved over. Do not do that much driving by myself at night though.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 09-Feb-14 23:01:31

You didn't mean me did you BoneyBackJefferson? grin

I wouldn't really. But I'd like to.

Years ago my mum got caught up in a shunt in her Volvo. The car behind her got impaled on her tow bar. The car in front had it's boot stoved in by her front bumper. She had a couple of scratches. Those cars were built to last.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 09-Feb-14 22:53:55


If you slam your brakes on when they are tailgating you, you run the risk of damaging both cars to the extent that you will both be at the side of the road waiting for the police to arrive.

You are gambling your safety on the response time of the dickhead behind you.

Do you really want to be on the hard shoulder or middle of nowhere with a numpty who now believes that you have destroyed there car?

Permanentlyexhausted Sun 09-Feb-14 22:51:14

I have had this sort of thing happen too many times to count although, strangely, my initial reaction to the OP was that I'd never experienced it. I guess this is because I focussed on the lone woman being intimidated aspect of the OP and I generally don't find this (tailgating)particularly intimidating and have never considered that it might be because I am a lone woman. I tend to assume that it is my car which is an easy target, rather than the person driving it (it's the roof bars and if I ever have the roof box on, there is a very marked increase in the aggressive behaviour from other drivers. I love watching them think they'll squeeze past me on the hatched markings at the end of the dual carriageway, only to find that my car is surprisingly zippy with an empty roof box on - suckers!).

FWIW I think the OP did the right thing.

I don't know what you can do to try to reduce the intimidation people feel in these situations. I would however suggest not driving around with less than half a tank of petrol if possible (so you know you have enough to keep going if you need to) and keeping your phone within reach at all times.

grumpyoldbat Sun 09-Feb-14 22:44:03

It's irrelevant whose insurance would be liable if you're badly injured or worse.

Not quite the same but I was once stationary at the back of a queue of traffic at temporary traffic lights. A speeding driver smashed into my car. I lost conciousness, I was pregnant at the time. I came to in the ambulance and spent the next 6hr in pain and not knowing for sure if dd was going to survive. Thankfully she's fine but I had a week on bed rest with lots of worry and losing pay. I still get some pain years later. He was arrested and convicted by not before I had to face his lawyer trying to humiliate me in court.

I think he has learnt his lesson but why should I or any other innocent person have to pay the price.

pigletmania Sun 09-Feb-14 22:18:07

Chronically that s awful, sounds like something Nessus would do.

Livingthedaydream Sun 09-Feb-14 22:09:37

grumpy - I see. But it's their insurance it would have gone on. Obviously not a great outcome but hopefully it would teach the fuckers a lesson.

CrohnicallyFarting - wow that guy sounds unhinged. I'd have been tempted to either a: run him over and drive off. No? I wasn't on that road at that time? I was at home watching top gear having a cuppy ;)
Or let him smash the car and call the police. He gets done, his insurance pay out. Twat gets taught a lesson.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sun 09-Feb-14 22:08:33

CrohnicallyFarting shock

Nessus you can aggressively drive behind me if you like. I'll simply slam on the brakes, you'll be far too close to come to a safe emergency stop and you'll land on the tow bar of my nice big strong 4x4. Then I'll report you for dangerous driving, take your insurance company to the cleaners, you'll receive penalty points if not a driving ban and the world will be just that little bit happier. smile

pigletmania Sun 09-Feb-14 22:03:53

Nessus the roads would be a much better place without wankers like you about! Aggressive not defensive. I bet your the the that intimidates somebody if they are too slow.

CrohnicallyFarting Sun 09-Feb-14 22:00:14

I just remembered an incident a few years back. It was fairly late at night, I was the passenger and my (now) DH was driving. We were on a stretch of wide single carriageway with a 50 limit. I expect DH was travelling faster than that, maybe 60, when a car started tailgating us. DH braked hard, driver behind was forced to swerve round and sped off ahead. We thought that was the end of it.

Further along the road there were some road works. It's hard to describe, but they were putting in crossing islands and improving a roundabout, so there were some of those 6ft high metal fences along the edge of the road, and also along the white lines in the middle. This meant that the road was reduced to 2 completely separate carriageways, each just one car width therefore no way of turning the car round.

The car in front stopped and we realised it was the one that had tailgated us previously. The driver got out, went to his boot, and pulled out something long, thin and made of metal- in my panic I thought it was a shotgun but I guess it was really a crowbar or tyre wrench or similar- and came at us.

Luckily the road was empty and there was nothing behind, else we'd have been trapped. DH put the car in reverse and sped off backwards as fast as he could, as soon as we were out of the roadworks and the carriageways rejoined he pulled a handbrake turn. As the man had to get back into his car we were able to get out of sight, down a side road and parked up with some other cars with our lights off (but engine running just in case). I don't know how long we waited before we plucked up the courage to drive off (in a different direction of course!).

Unfortunately neither of us got the reg plate or even a description of the driver, so couldn't report to the police.

Anniegetyourgun Sun 09-Feb-14 21:58:56

I've mentioned on another occasion the coach that tailgated me on the ice a couple of years ago. Reported him to his company. Hope he got a proper earful.

FreyaFridays Sun 09-Feb-14 21:54:56

Ah, Witch, that makes much more sense now. Didn't quite get the angle you were coming from before, since mothers who've given birth are quite as capable of killing as the next chap.

Queenmarigold Sun 09-Feb-14 21:53:17

Yes by a lorry. I called the police who stopped him and I carried on in peace

grumpyoldbat Sun 09-Feb-14 21:52:23

living I thought she meant what could happen if brake testing went wrong, they smashed into you leaving your car undrivable.

AnyFucker Sun 09-Feb-14 21:48:24

BBJ is right

I wouldn't advise my daughter to take an aggressive driver on, so the same for anyone else

Livingthedaydream Sun 09-Feb-14 21:47:59

What you have to remember is that these guys (and yes it is generally men) do not actually want to damage their car. If you match them to a point they cannot do anything else unless it would cause cars to touch, they will not do it!

I understand that doesn't help you if you are a nervous or anxious driver though. I am not at all and have always ignored or brake tested and they soon fuck off.

If the arse passes you giving you the finger or pulls in to be in front of you then just be prepared to brake or just hang back as much as possible.

I honestly do not know why people act like arseholes on the road. But just try to ignore and they soon get bored.

Livingthedaydream Sun 09-Feb-14 21:43:27

BoneyBackJefferson - It's always worked for me.

Violent? What they gona do when you are both in motion? Hardly gona punch you in the face!

AnyFucker Sun 09-Feb-14 21:42:22

I would not ever take a dangerous driver on

I can hold my own in a verbal skirmish, but do not ever take risks outside of that

take evasive action to remove yourself is my advice

WelshMoth Sun 09-Feb-14 21:26:13

I have used the break testing methods if on a long stretch of road a few times but I've always considered careully who's tailgaiting me before doingit. I've only done it on what look like regular, distracted drivers who don't realise how dangerous their driving is, and it usually works.

I more recently tried my hazards for a few flashes on an aggressive male driver who was taking tailgaiting to a new dimension -- the twat-- and my two DD's were in the car, but it only suceeded in making him worse. I felt fury that day because DD's were aware of the danger, and were crying.

nessus Sun 09-Feb-14 21:13:43

Anniegetyourgun my point is quite clear; regressive and gender limiting views should be challenged wherever encountered.

If anyone has any more name calling to do feel invited to pm me directly.

OP, apologies for the diversion.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 09-Feb-14 21:06:32

"You should have brake tested them."

Please don't ever do this If they don't stop, you will be stuck on whatever road you are on with a (possibly violent) dick

Shannith Sun 09-Feb-14 20:57:56

Nessu fuck off.

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