Grr…

Keith Adams

I’ve been driving around in a Metro diesel (see below) this week (it’s cheaper than walking and rides better than your 5-series thank you very much) but am increasingly running out of humour when it comes to bully-boy prats tailgating me… Why do little men in their leased cars feel the need to try and compensate for their sad little lives by trying to bully lil’ old me off the roads in the hyper-economical Metro 1.4LD?

I mean I don’t hold anyone up when the road ahead is clear – so why try driving over me when there’s someone ahead holding me up? If you’re a frequenter of this forum and drive a Vectra/3-Series/Focus in such an appalling manner, I’d really love to hear from you in order to try and find out what you’re thinking.

Getting treated like a leper on the roads (as us Rover owners do) really takes the shine off beating the system in this fine little car.

Posted in: AROnline Blogs
Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

28 Comments on "Grr…"

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  1. Rob Gould says:

    On the way home, I got 69mpg from the Golf. Admittedly I was driving like a little old lady, but the chap behind me in his bright orange Focus ST wasn’t nasty or drive right up my chuff. In fact he was quite a gentleman. No, it was the total knobby git in a Toyota Corolla who finally lost his rag and overtook in second gear…

    Later I could barely stifle a chuckle when I overtook him coasting downhill after he let an OAP in a Metro out of a slip road in front of him.

    It wasn’t you in the Metro was it? 😉

  2. Stewart says:

    I have this all the time, these popele make a very good case for tow bars that will never be used, the sigt of one of these and brake lights soon has them back off, but all too often they demonstrate the memeory span of a gold fish and come back for more. I think it’s not just rovers, it’s anything over 7 years old I think that gets treated this way, My Audi certainly did

  3. Simon Woodward says:

    Don’t worry I get it all day long with my van and reckon its because its white!! Its not in my interests to be a bad driver, for one my insurance is over a £1000’s all in ( my 944 is only £350 and my Disco £280) this is due to the fact I carry other people stuff in it(I am a self employed cabinet maker for interior designers). I also do about 50k miles a year so the chances of being flashed by a stealth tax box(gatso) doing 31 mph in the middle of the night are greater. In other words points on my license are not a good thing for me, no license = no work = children put into the work house(now there’s a thought!)
    But my biggest problem is TW**S in company leased cars, usually on their phone whilst reading directions off a bit of paper in the other hand . These are the same cars that are not fitted with indicators but a fog light switch comes on as soon as the visibility reduces to about 2 miles ahead!! oh and all the young girls texting at 90mph in their facsimile Mini’s. But I do have a little fun in my van because it has a 130 bhp 2.8 jtdi Fiat engine which has huge amounts of torque, so it will keep pace with most run of mill cars even with a full load( it also has ABS and ESP so it stops and brakes well). But when I had a Blue van I had no hassle at all!!! So this got me thinking about all my other cars that I own or owned. My Disco is a 300tdi so very slow so I expect people to pull out on me, after all the speedo is a calender but when I had V8 model this was a pain because it was pretty quick and people didn’t realise. The Red Alfa’s that I have owned where strange because people seem to assume you are going to do some dangerous overtaking manoeuvre and let you pass whether you like it or not. But the my bright red 26 yr old 944 is a pain to drive because every one in the world wants a race and so glues themselves to your back bumper!! Infact when my wife drives our BMW E30 Touring(also red )she gets every tom dick and harry giving her the eye but hardly a second glance in the Discovery.
    Going back to company cars I thinks its because if you don’t own it you don’t respect it, when I’ve had company cars or hire cars I’ve tended to drive like a T*WT, like the Ford Mondeo I had once, three gear boxes in 18 months!!! so I only have myself to blame when some is glued to the back bumper of my van because given the chance I would probably be doing the same!!

  4. Andrew McCheyne says:

    Is twit a swear word?

  5. Simon Woodward says:

    I think its short for bird spotter!

  6. Adrian Cains says:

    I’ve got a 53 plate model Toyota Yaris and I don’t think this is an exclusively age or Rover related complaint. The number of times I’ve been tail gated is abysmal, usually by morons in pseudo 4x4s on twisty country roads.
    Even a quick dab on the brakes is never enough to get them to back off!
    Do the DVLA allow the fitment of rocket launchers?

  7. Andrew-P AndrewP says:

    I think this has less and less to do with what you drive than general driving standards.

    There is always someone wanting to get past you or trying to force you to go at their speed. (VW Passat or Audi normally or is that just stereotyping?)

    I just dip the rear view mirror and try and ignore them.

  8. David Edney says:

    I think it has a LOT to do with the car you’re in. When I drive my XJ I *never* get tailgated and nobody seems to dick around with me, however when I drive my old school Mini (and go absolutely no slower than in the Jag) I get idiots in mundane repmobiles driving up my arse, refusing to give way, pulling out in front of me etc. I usually then have to overtake them further down the road, which seems to enrage people when I’m in the Mini but again not in the Jag.

    I do have to wonder how much of a flaccid little man you’d have to be to see a small car and make the decision you’re going to bully it when you leave the guy in the 2 tonne tank well alone?

    Just ignoring them in the Mini is difficult, because I know if their little weasel brain is distracted for a second and they rear end me I’m toast. Fortunately no repmobiles can keep up with me once the road gets twisty!

    Dave

  9. Andrew McCheyne says:

    I find that some drivers will overtake me when even s/he can’t see that far ahead and will use up my braking distance as if it is some sort of moving passing place when a car in the other lane comes towards them.

  10. Richard says:

    Speaking is a driver of a leased company Jag, a lot of it is because the price you pay for getting such a car is a job with a lot of pressure. Not that other jobd don’t have pressure, mind. One is in a constant postion of having too much to do, not enough time to do it and one can develop a mistaken belief that this is all very important. Other road users driving smaller, older cars that they actually paid for, therefore appear to be the enemy, because apparently they are not suffering in the same way. The real answer to all that is: if you don’t like pressure, get another job and anyway you are no more important than anyone else. Most people are not self-aware enough to grasp this. End of self-righteous sermon.

  11. Richard says:

    Speaking is a driver of a leased company Jag, a lot of it is because the price you pay for getting such a car is a job with a lot of pressure. Not that other jobs don’t have pressure, mind. One is in a constant position of having too much to do, not enough time to do it and one can develop a mistaken belief that this is all very important. Other road users driving smaller, older cars that they actually paid for, therefore appear to be the enemy, because apparently they are not suffering in the same way. The real answer to all that is: if you don’t like pressure, get another job and anyway you are no more important than anyone else. Most people are not self-aware enough to grasp this. End of self-righteous sermon.

  12. Chris says:

    I find the best approach (learned from my dad who was a cop) is to slow down when you get tailgated. From the safety angle its better if you are going slower if/when they actually hit you. Sometimes (BMW and MINI drivers excepted) the fact that they are having to do under 20 in a 30 zone gets the message through.

  13. banger man says:

    I drive a three series although unlike the typical repmobile 318d, it’s a practically worthless drug dealer spec white 95 328i. I still get tailgated and tend to go by Chris’s method of slowing down in 30 zones, when there are cars in front and nowhere for me to go. When the open road beckons you can then destroy their puny overpriced shiny repmobiles with some good old fashioned power.
    The strangest from of tailgating has to be people who tailgate Luton vans, if you are close than about ten feet you just vanish from the drivers view.

  14. banger man says:

    I drive a three series although unlike the typical repmobile 318d, it’s a practically worthless drug dealer spec white 95 328i. I still get tailgated and tend to go by Chris’s method of slowing down in 30 zones, when there are cars in front and nowhere for me to go. When the open road beckons you can then destroy their puny overpriced shiny repmobiles with some good old fashioned power.
    The strangest from of tailgating has to be people who tailgate Luton vans, if you are close than about ten feet you just vanish from the drivers view.

  15. Doive says:

    I have this regularly in my Chevette – last time out it was a new Audi TT on the A68. Anyone who knows this road will know it’s a superb driving road, only marred by an abundance of cash machines, sorry speed cameras. On the straights Mr TT was right up my bumper, but come the corners I would drop a gear, get the tail gently drifting and steer round with the throttle – no brakes required. Poor TT driver would virtually stop at the slightest curve in the road, then come roaring up behind me again on the straights. After 20 miles or so I allowed him past, and he sped off into the distance… (FLASH FLASH).

    The moral of the story? Old cars are easily capable of keeping up with modern traffic up to and beyond the speed limit. Occasionally I terrify boy racers in their Paxos with the Saab 9000, most satisfying.

  16. Georges Ribauville says:

    It’s not only in the UK. I live in Belgium and drive in Belgium and we have exactly the same glued cars. Very often these cars are little Peugeots, Citroens and Renaults driven by young guys with caps on their heads.I don’t understand this dangerous way to drive but I imagine they want to show like this their power.

  17. Joe Strong says:

    Keith,
    Come and join us on the A17 between Spalding and Kings Lynn one morning at 7:00 and you will see that is not just you. I get picked on in my MGF, my 2.2 Hdi 170 407 and even my wife’s 2.7 HDi 407 Coupe. It’s a mental problem they have, they can’t help it learn to let them pass, and they are gone from your life!

  18. Graham Little says:

    This morning I’ve been driving a 56-plate, mint 25 2.0TD and had the usual VAG/BMW etc products pushing me along as we all had to slow passing Hamilton on the M74, the leader inches from my tail and each one bumper to bumper with the next.

    Come the end of the blockage with the 25 just in the sweet spot in third gear, it took some distance for me to be overtaken…!

    This happens all the time in the 25, despite it being a genuinely quick little car, and very frequently with my ZT 260. This is possibly for different reasons but I have my doubts, it being a mere “old Rover” to most folks I think.

    My wife’s Touareg doesn’t ever suffer from tailgating. Go figure, as they say.

  19. John Hackett says:

    Best thing to do – slam your brakes on and off very quickly. Scares the living daylights out of them!

  20. Ian Ian says:

    So you think the Brits are king of the tailgaters?
    Come to Spain and see the Brits are not kings at all.
    After that go to Portugal and see even Spain does not have that crown either!

  21. 820Tickford says:

    I don’t get it as much in the Vitesse (except from boy racers in Imprezas and Corsas and the obvious 3 and 1 series BMWs) but if I’m driveing my other half’s Metro it’s a nightmare around here.

    Still, it at least allows for amusement when the driver of a 318 does it on a country lane. The look on their face as an old Metro/800 pulls away is a picture!

  22. Stuart says:

    I’m in Austrlaia & find it interesting to compare attitudes to my ’96 Suzuki Baleno (bigger wheels, but basically standard) & my modified ’90 Toyota MR2. The Suzi is a pokey car, but often gets tailgated by Commodores & 4×4’s. So I back off a little & make them go around, then keeping them in front so I can ensure their future bad moves can be anticipated.
    In the MR2, it’s different. Cars behind stay clear, but those that fancy their chances will dive into the lane next to me in order to race. At least that’s what they think will happen; I’ll take off gently as I bought the car as a special toy for winding roads, not to be used up in traffic light derbies with people I don’t know.
    I recall an article in the mid 90’s by Russell Bulgin (RIP) in Car who lamented the ‘yobbo’ culture in cars that was becoming prevalent. I’m sure he would be further appalled to see standards now. No-one talks about how smooth you are on the clutch, how you anticipate traffic conditions, it’s all ‘powerrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!’ Thank you Jeremy Clarkson for further fuelling this decline in those that are easily led.

  23. Allen Walker says:

    Chris :
    I find the best approach (learned from my dad who was a cop) is to slow down when you get tailgated. From the safety angle its better if you are going slower if/when they actually hit you.

    Agree, indeed this is the advice dished out in the Police Driver’s Manual which is the basis of what the Advanced Driving people teach.
    1. Increasing the distance between you and the car in front makes it safer for you to have to slow down in an emergency and reduces the risk of being rear-ended.
    2. It’s about mental discipline: overriding your instinctive irritation/anger with a rational response and encourage the person behind you to overtake – very hard to do but satisfying when you can achieve it.
    3. It actually works.
    Worst thing in the world you can do is engage in cat-and-mouse, you’ll end up constantly twitching your eyeballs at the rear view mirror whilst trying to drive quickly and accurately – dangerous.

  24. Keith Adams says:

    The DoT Driver’s manual says the same thing, too. And it’s something I always try and do where possible…

  25. Mark says:

    Picked on in the Metro Keith? Try my 2cv for harassment value… I honestly think some fellow road users think it is a static relic put on the road as an installation art piece. How surprised they are when they have to stop before killing me as they join that roundabout.

    The ZS scares them though – and the Alfa mostly gets respect.

    I guess getting to a make or break meeting on time could be a plausible M25 repmobile excuse-me but I imagine that only makes up 10% of the pillocks.

    Youth has alot to do with it and I admit driving like a complete tit in my first car. And the second one. Showing off? I think some of that is only to be expected in most post pubescence teens/20 odds who think they have peacock feathers to show off.

    So I wouldn’t be too hard on the baseball cappers till they hit 26 as long as it’s mild revvy rev stuff.

    I had my first child on Tuesday and consequently I am currently driving like a Grandma on Valium.

    I’m sure it will wear off…

  26. paul says:

    Have you considered that the issue may be nothing to do with lease car drivers and their sad little lives – who may well be very succesful people – but rather the selfish, anti-social behaviour of someone driving far to slowly in an old car?

  27. Keith Adams Keith Adams says:

    I drive pretty much the same speed regardless of the car I drive in mixed traffic, and treatment varies depending on what I am behind the wheel of. Fact. Yes, I do drive cautiously in urban areas, and religiously stick to 30mph in such places, so if you consider that to be the ‘anti-social behaviour of someone driving far too slowly in an old car’, then I am guilty as charged…

    Point is, tailgating is dangerous, stupid, ill-advised. If someone is driving too slowly ahead, hang back and overtake when safe to do so. Intimidating someone by driving too closely benefits no one – as anyone who has been taught road craft will attest…

    Oh, and I consider myself pretty successful in my chosen career, but that doe not give me carte blanche to drive like a prick.

  28. Will says:

    I think Paul subscribes to the misguided view that prevails in society, mostly pushed by the media who are influenced (through advertising and ownership) by the industry to promote the view that if it isn’t new, it’s useless. That’s why the uk.gov car scrappage sham has been a success.

    It is to do with what you drive too, nobody gave the Citroen ZX any respect, I got tailgated all the time by BMW / fleet drivers. The Alfa GTV seems to get more respect, despite being the same age.

    Oh and even in the GTV, 30mph means 30, despite the fact that your 316i is capable of 45 in a 30.

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