Braking hard to deter a tailgater

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Q: I was driving to pick up my friend, when the car behind me started to drive very close to me. It kept speeding up and slowing down, generally driving like an idiot. I tried to slow down to just under the limit to get him to back off but he wouldn’t.

I was getting annoyed so I slammed on my brakes. He slammed on as well and it worked because he then backed off. However, a police car was stationary in a side road and the policemen inside stopped both vehicles. They have given me an s59 warning. I don’t think this is fair because it was the other driver’s fault. 

I was getting annoyed so I slammed on my brakes

A: In these circumstances, an s59 warning means that if another offence of driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner is committed in the next 12 months by the driver of the vehicle or the vehicle with the warning issued to it, the police have the power to seize the vehicle.

Whilst it may seem unfair, and the other driver should certainly be held accountable as well, your actions amount to driving in a careless or inconsiderate manner. Slamming on your brakes could cause an accident, so is viewed very seriously by the police. You have been lucky to have only been given a warning on this occasion, and not prosecuted. 

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FirstCar's legal expert is Emma Patterson, who runs Patterson Law, which specialises in motoring cases. If you've got a legal question, email us at and we'll get Emma to answer it for you. If you need the advice or representation of a great motoring lawyer, you can contact Emma or one of her colleagues, through her website.