How Tailgating Causes Accidents and How to Stop It
Brian White | December 23, 2020 | Car Accidents
Every year, more than one million rear-end car accidents occur in the United States. In those car accidents, thousands of drivers and passengers are injured and killed. A significant percentage of those rear-end accidents are the result of tailgating, or, driving too close to the car in front of you.
Most states, including Texas, have laws on the books that make tailgating illegal and punishable by a fine. However, because of the vague nature of those laws and because of the extensive list of variables and possible scenarios on the road, those laws are rarely enforced.
But just because it is unlikely you will get ticketed for tailgating doesn’t mean you should do so. It is in your best interest and the best interest of other drivers that you keep a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you.
Why People Tailgate
There are several reasons people tailgate. The first and increasingly common reason is because people are distracted while they are driving. When people use their smartphones to talk or text, they are less likely to pay attention to their following distance. This can increase the likelihood that they will mindlessly follow the car in front of them too closely.
Another reason people tailgate is to get revenge. It might sound extreme, but if one car cuts off another or does something else to offend another driver, one common response is that the offended driver will tailgate the offending car. This reason for tailgating is especially dangerous because not only can it lead to an accident, but it can also result in a confrontation and road rage.
Why Tailgating Leads to Rear-End Collisions
It is fairly obvious why tailgating is dangerous and leads to rear-end collisions. When one car is following another too closely it reduces the amount of time the second car has to react if the first car has to brake abruptly. When cars are moving at high speeds, such as on freeways, significant time is required in order to be able to brake on time and avoid a collision.
In some cases, the first vehicle will increase the likelihood of a collision by tapping on their brakes. Some drivers think this is a way to communicate to the car behind them to back off and give them more space. However, even a slight tap can cause a rear-end collision.
Ways to Avoid Tailgating
The best way to decrease tailgating on the road is by not doing it yourself. In order to tailgate less or not at all, it is crucial that you never use your smartphone while you are driving. As noted earlier, distracted driving is a huge contributor to tailgating.
It is also important to keep your cool while on the road and never tailgate another driver as a way to get back at them for cutting you off. Finally, if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, you might want to consider leaving earlier. Drivers are more likely to tailgate when they are pressed for time.
What to Do if Another Vehicle is Tailgating You
If you notice that another vehicle is following you too closely, there are several things you can do (or not do) to minimize the chances of an accident.
Some of those things include:
- Driving primarily in the right lane to allow faster-moving traffic to pass
- Signal and carefully move to the right lane if another vehicle is already tailgating
- Never tap on the breaks to send a message to the car behind you
If you follow these steps you will not only decrease the likelihood of a rear-end accident, but you will help to establish a healthier and safer traffic flow for others.
What to Do if Another Car Rear-Ends You Because They Were Tailgating
If another vehicle rear-ends your car because they were tailgating, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Rear-end collisions are often the fault of the driver in the second car meaning you could be eligible for compensation to help you pay for things like medical bills, physical therapy, and even pain and suffering.
A good lawyer will investigate your case and make sure the other party is held accountable for their actions. With the help of a lawyer, you can increase your chances of getting the money you deserve.