Don’t Be a Tailgater

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February 07, 2021
Edward Smith

Tailgating Causes a Lot of Accidents

The majority of accidents on the roads, including those that cause injuries and result in personal injury cases, are rear-end collisions.  Most of those collisions could have been avoided had the trailing driver allowed more room between their vehicle and the vehicle in front of them.  Approximately a third of all accidents that occur nationwide can be attributed to the rear car following too closely.  One of the safest habits a driver can adopt on the roadways is vowing not to be a tailgater.

What is Tailgaiting?

Tailgating describes the situation when one driver follows another vehicle too closely, without leaving sufficient space to come to a sudden stop if necessary. Though tailgating is often seen with young, inexperienced drivers, they are certainly not the only ones who engage in the dangerous practice.  

Tailgating is not only hazardous because it does not allow sufficient room to make a quick stop, but it also has the tendency to make the front car speed up in order to create space, which results in faster traffic speeds overall.  

Reasons Why Drivers Tailgate

In the vast majority of cases, tailgating is a deliberate act.  There are several reasons for which a driver may choose to follow another car too closely, including:

  • Impatience
  • Road rage or intimidation
  • Inexperience
  • Overconfidence in their ability to stop
  • Drafting (trying to increase gas mileage by following closely behind a larger vehicle)

Prevention of Tailgaiting Accidents

When driving conditions are good, it’s daylight, and the weather is clear, drivers should maintain a minimum of three seconds’ distance between their vehicle and any in front of them.  In bad weather, after dark, in heavy traffic, or in close proximity to big rigs or motorcycles, that following time should be increased.  

Here are some things to keep in mind that can help you avoid becoming a tailgater:

  • Keep alert and maintain awareness of nearby vehicles.
  • For every 10 miles per hour you are traveling, keep at least 10 feet back.
  • Allow at minimum three seconds of space between your car and the one in front of you.
  • When driving behind a large truck or a motorcycle, increase your following distance.
  • Do not speed.  A safe speed should allow you to brake safely if the car in front of you comes to an abrupt stop.
  • Adjust for the weather.  In the rain, snow, or in conditions of decreased visibility, drive even slower and allow more distance.
  • If you are the one being tailgated, do not get angry.  Braking in retaliation can put you in danger.  Move to the right when it is safe to do so and allow the tailgater to pass.

Watch the YouTube video from the National Road Safety Foundation on avoiding tailgating.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney

Hello, and thank you for reading.  My name is Ed Smith, and I’ve been a Sacramento personal injury attorney for more than 38 years.  A tailgater is just one example of a negligent driver.  There are many ways in which a careless or reckless driver can cause an accident.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a car crashed that was caused by another’s foolish actions, the injury lawyers at my firm can help by providing free and friendly advice.  Reach out to us at (916) 921-6400 or, from outside the local area code at our toll-free line: (800) 404-5400. If it is your preference to communicate electronically, please use our online form.

The great results I have achieved for my clients have allowed me to become a member of these legal associations:

To learn more about our firm and to read what clients have said about our services, please visit the links below:

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