OPINION | Message to tailgaters - get off my back

I have a theory that on the road you see people's real personality writ large.

Drivers who push into your lane or speed up when you try to move into theirs are probably jerks to their spouses.

Those middle-aged men who hog the road are almost certainly guilty of man-spreading on public transport.

People who are calm and in control in other locations but get in a flap merging onto the highway are in reality hiding an anxiety disorder.

And timid old ladies who putter along below the speed limit, unaware of the queue of irate drivers behind them, are most likely the same people who tell long stories at family gatherings without noticing that no one is listening.

On the road, as in life, some of the most awful people to be around are the childish, selfish, badly-brought-up cretins who tailgate incessantly.

'Get out of my way,' they say with their front bumper bar, and sometimes their flashing headlights. 'My impatience is more important than anyone's safety.'

I don't tolerate bullying on the road, especially when my 16 year-old learner daughter is driving, so I'm teaching her to retaliate in the only way you can - with some good, old-fashioned passive-aggressiveness.

Here are four of my suggestions. If you are in law enforcement, please look away now.

Slow down, just a bit. If there's nowhere they can overtake, they will practically explode with rage. Hilarious.

Tap the brakes. This takes skill and good judgment, but if it's safe to do so it will give them a little heart attack, and hopefully they'll drop back a bit. (No correspondence will be entered into over this piece of terrible advice.)

If you can, pull over and let them overtake. Then follow them while leaning on the horn for as long as they are in view.

Refrain from giving any indication that you are aware of their presence. Continue driving at your chosen speed and mime insouciance, even if that means opening your window and leaning a relaxed elbow on the sill.

I'd rather speak to the tailgaters directly, but that being impossible, I resort to tactics like this. What that says about my own personality, I really don't want to know.