The first thing to remember here, is that it’s rare to be followed by someone who might have bad intent towards you when you are driving. However, if you think that you are being followed, you need to keep calm and act rationally.
The starting point is remembering that you are in control of the situation and safe in your car. Next you need to remember a few simple ‘do’s and don’ts’.
Choose a road you know. If you are in a strange area, or on a motorway, drive around a one-way system or a roundabout a couple of times. Make sure that you stick to major routes to avoid the risk of turning into a dead end road. If the other car stays with you it is reasonable to assume that it is following. Stay calm and take action.
What can I do?
Knowing that you are being followed means that you are in control – you are the leader.
The simplest action is to drive to a police station, fire station, or similar, somewhere that there will be people. If you are in a strange area drive to a busy place, a petrol station is ideal. Draw attention to yourself by flashing your lights and sounding your horn it’s not necessary to get out of the car – you can keep the doors locked. Keep driving until you reach a safe place.
Drive in a calm measured way at a sensible safe speed – if you try to ‘get away’ by driving fast to ‘shake off’ the following driver you risk having an accident.
Reading backwards: Practice reading number plates backwards (in your mirror). Call 112 (999) on your mobile phone and explain where you are, the colour of your car and details of the ‘follower’. Remember the dangers of using a mobile phone on the move and pull up in a busy place, or hard shoulder (this is an emergency) to make the call if possible – if you have to make the call on the move stay calm and reduce your speed.
Should I pull over? It’s good to be cautious and to consider whether other drivers are helping or threatening. If another driver gestures that you should stop because there is a problem with your car, drive on to stop in a place where there are other people.
If your car breaks down and another person approaches, lock the doors and keep the windows closed. Explain (through closed windows) that they should call the police for you. If you have a phone, tell them that you are OK and have called the police for help. When help arrives, check the credentials of the helper, most rescue services have uniforms and clearly marked vehicles. If not they should have ID badges.
How to survive if you are stopped
The chances of this happening to you are probably several million to one against – however, with millions of people on the Internet I feel duty bound to share this information with you, even though you are highly unlikely to ever need it.
Sadly, those who might benefit are the ones who are unaware, the ones who have not taken an interest in their own safety in the way that you do.
Action: If you are forced to stop, stay in the car, lock the doors and keep your head. You are safer in your car than anywhere else. Do not try to run away. If there are passing drivers, draw attention to yourself with your headlights and horn – keep your engine running.
Allow the other driver to get out of his/her vehicle, then drive or reverse slowly for about thirty or forty metres and stop. Avoid high speed stunts! If you tried to reverse away quickly you could lose control and run off the road.
As the assailant draws near repeat the exercise to lure him away from his own vehicle. By doing this you will create a chance to ‘escape’ and to buy time.
If you have a phone, make it clear that you are using it.
Draw the other person as far away as you can from the security of his/her vehicle. Finally, drive away quickly, but in a controlled manner … It’s no use getting away and crashing your car.
Extreme action: As an extreme last resort, drive at your assailant to cause injury.
Be very aware that you must only do this as a last resort – there is the danger that you may later be sued for malicious wounding or charged with assault, when the attacker pleads: “I was simply going to ask for directions your honour…”
Never try to ram into or damage the other drivers car. By doing this you would risk damaging and immobilising your own vehicle.
Remember – There are very few cases of people being stopped. Follow the advice on this page and you will enjoy a lifetime of solo driving!
With thanks to SmartDriving