“I know,” James Bond 007, without turning, calmly answers when informed that their car is being followed.
“When did you know?” the stressed female passenger asks.
“Ten minutes ago.”
A good number of driving schools would tell you about what to do when you encounter scary things like your car breaking down in the middle of the road. But what are things to do when you’re being followed in a car?
Obviously, many questions would spring to your mind: who are they? What do they want? How long have they been following? Are they armed? Am I safe? Will they harm, kidnap, or even kill me if they get a chance?
Well, we assume you are a law-abiding citizen, so your car being followed would catch you by surprise.
Your level of anxiety would depend on factors such as where you are and the time. But, is there a chain of reactions you should follow when you notice you are being followed in a car?
Let’s find out what you should do on the day you realize more is going on behind you than meets the rear-view mirror:
1 Don’t Panic — Keep Driving
You are driving, remember. If you let panic get the better of you, it may result in an accident. Therefore, after taking a mental note of the situation, do not lose focus on the road ahead.
Pretend you are James Bond and stay calm, even if for a minute. That would give you the time to consider the next SAFER course of action, depending on the circumstances.
It is essential we overemphasize that you stay calm because there are numerous incidents a panicking and confused driver loses control of the car after realizing (or even wrongly concluding that) he is being followed.
Determined to escape, he might speed, make quick calculated turns, or carelessly dash into streets, knocking pedestrians. Others simply open the car door and try to get lost in the forest or buildings around. This could be more dangerous than the threat behind you.
2 Ascertain That You are Being Followed
Remaining calm after the discovery will also give you the time to ascertain that you are indeed being followed.
You may imagine things, so be sure you are not misinterpreting whatever the driver behind you is up to. The fact that the car behind you has been following you for the last 30 minutes is no proof you are being stalked. You two could be heading to the same destination, kind of.
Therefore, give the stalker the benefit of the doubt for a while.
How Do I Tell Know That Someone is Tailing or Stalking Me In a Car?
Once you suspect you are being followed in a car, forget about where you are going for a while and try to mix things up a bit. Make some detour: make three wrong turns. Take the next exit, drive for a while, then return to the main road.
If you turn right and the car behind turns right too, that’s normal. If it happens the second time, that’s a coincidence. However, if it happens the third time, that’s an eyebrow-raiser. You are being followed by the car behind you.
“Who Can Stalk Me? I’m Just a Nobody!”
Well, not really. Nobody is a nobody. An ex, a family member, a rival at work, or robbers can follow you. You don’t have to be a celebrity or a prominent person in society to find yourself stalked.
3 Don’t Let Them Know That You Know
You might be tempted to scare the stalker(s) away by letting them know that you know what they are up to. Do not glance at your side mirror now and then or do anything suggestive. Keep on driving calmly.
4 Don’t Drive Home
If you were driving home, don’t head there. East or west home is best, but the stalker’s mission could be to find out where you stay to plan misdeeds later on. Whatever you do next, keep home out of the picture if you can.
5 Slow Down (If It’s Safe To Do So)
Depending on the time and circumstances, you may have to slow down to see what happens. If the stalker also slows down, it further proves you are being followed. Don’t try this at night or in an isolated location.
Slowing may enable you to see the stalker and the car details. Do not slow down so that they can overtake you, after which you follow them to wherever they go next. The “hunter hunted” should not come to play here, for your safety.
6 Call the Police or Drive to the Nearest Station
Depending on the level of danger you judge you are in, decide if you should call the police or drive to the nearest police station. Your stalker could be intending to harm you immediately, not later. You can judge by how determined they are to keep you in sight.
If they continue to follow even after you slowed down or changed lanes, do not take chances. It would help if you also learned some simple self-defense tricks just in case you are one day attacked.
7 Drive to a Public Place
Where it is not possible to contact the police or drive to a police station, you should drive to a crowded place.
You should not play a cat-and-mouse game with the following car for long because it is likely to become a distraction.
It would be best if you constantly stay alert when driving. How else would you know when you are being stalked by one of the cars behind you? While we don’t encourage you to glance at every car suspiciously, you should be alert enough to detect any unusual conduct going on behind you. In fact, it is advised you develop awareness habits even if you are not driving. Learn some intelligent James Bond tactics.
Something else: avoid set routine because it makes your schedule highly predictable. Try to change the route you take to and from work, if possible. Again, don’t be the person who is known to fuel his/her car at such or such a place on weekends at the same time, before driving to grocery, cinema or a particular pub.
Sharing your whereabouts on social media is part of the new world order or culture, but at times it comes with its own set of problems. You may unintentionally reveal your exact location to stalkers planning to harm you.
We continue to urge New York State residents who wish to learn to drive to join Pierre Paul Driving School in Brooklyn.