Tailgating: An Overlooked Cause Of Car Accidents

Posted on: 11 December 2015


Rear-end collisions occur all too frequently in the United States. They happen when drivers aren't paying attention to what is going on in front of them or when circumstances arise that can't be avoided. However, one of the most common causes of rear-end car accidents is tailgating. Tailgating is completely preventable, and acting accordingly when you are being tailgated can help prevent accidents. Here's what you need to know about tailgating, car accidents, and the law.

Why Do People Tailgate?

People tailgate others for many reasons, including being in a hurry, speeding, or attempting to intimidate the person in front of them because they believe the person in front of them is driving too slow. Also, many people don't tailgate maliciously but simply overestimate their skills and their ability to stop as quickly as they would need to were the car in front of them come to a sudden stop. In some cases, a person might follow too closely behind a semi truck in an attempt to "draft," meaning that the semi's force pulls their car and allegedly allows the car to use less gas. Unfortunately, when a car gets too close behind a semi, the semi driver can no longer see the car and may not know it's there.

Is Tailgating Against the Law?

In most states, there are laws against tailgating. However, these laws tend to be ambiguous at best and many police officers find these laws difficult to enforce. The most common way that an individual is charged with following another car too closely is in the event of an accident and if it was clear that the tailgating was the primary or sole cause of the collision. When a person is charged with following too closely, a fine may be imposed.

Avoid Tailgating

The best way to avoid tailgating is to put one car length between you and the car in front of you for every 10 miles per hour you are driving. For example, if you are driving 30 miles per hour, you would want to put three car lengths in between you and the person in front of you.

What to Do If You Are Being Tailgated

If someone is tailgating you, it is extremely important to react with caution so as to avoid a collision. Don't be tempted to slow down even more to upset the driver behind you. Instead, find somewhere to pull to the side of the road so the driver behind you can pass you. It is better to allow an upset or speeding driver to pass you than it is to maintain your position and risk being rear-ended if you have to stop suddenly while they're behind you.

Were You Involved in a Tailgating Accident?

If you or a family member were hurt in an accident caused by someone tailgating you, it may be possible for you to obtain compensation for vehicle damage, lost wages, medical bills, and other expenses you incurred as a result of the accident through a personal injury claim. The most important thing you can do following any type of car accident, especially a tailgating collision, is to contact an experienced car accident attorney.

A car accident attorney can piece together what happened in the accident and who may be held liable for the damages caused. If you were not at fault, your lawyer will fight for you to receive the full and fair compensation you deserve for all the expenses you incurred, as well as for your pain and suffering. For more information on how to deal with a tailgating accident, call a car accident attorney today.