How hard is it to trail another car?

Title pretty much says it all - how hard is it to follow another car, without the other driver noticing?

Can anybody off the street do it or does specific training make a difference?

Oh, and how much would it take for you as a driver to notice another car following you?

Depends on how observant the other person is. I’ve tailed someone, and they had no idea, even when I was the only car behind them for almost 4 miles. It also has to do with your knowledge of the area, knowing where you can cut across parking lots to avoid being stuck behind them at a traffic light, knowing how to follow someone when they are in the car behind you, etc.

I don’t think it would take much for me to notice, especially at night. I hate having another car behind me when I drive, and I do all I can to get them to pass me. I can also usually tell a car by it’s headlights, so if I noticed the same headlights for a while I would get suspicious, and basically drive in circles to see if they were following me or not. I’m also pretty good at remembering license plates and bumper stickers, so if I noticed the same plate or stickers on a car, I would get suspicious.

One of my students gave an interesting speech on this topic a few months ago. He had taken a Private Investigator course and learned how to trail people in malls, and in cars.

He said it was important to have a standard model car that didn’t stand out, in a neutral color. Also, keep at least two cars behind, but not more than three cars away in case someone makes a sudden turn. If possible, wait until after rush hours to follow someone, but that isn’t always easy - depending on the situation and the location (city, smaller town, suburb, etc.).

Best way is to have two cars and use cell phones so you can follow for awhile, then call and tell the other driver to follow for awhile, and so on. Most of his business came from a suspicious husband or wife checking up on their spouse.

A typical driver has no clue about who’s around them. Cops often report trailing somebody with lights going for a few blocks before the person wakes up & notices they need to pull over. Those people you could follow all day.

A better question is how well you or I could tail somebody who was worried about being tailed.

I’ve done it. Almost 9 hours following a contractor truck working for my company and suspected of stealing. We used two cars with two people in each car, followed the truck to the locations that were assigned to it, to the spot where they stripped the cover off the copper wire, to one of the employees’ homes to stash it in the garage.

Got photographs the whole time. It isn’t really hard unless the person you’re following is really paying attention, or you screw up royally.