Tailgating is a particularly common type of risky driving. This behavior entails following too closely behind another vehicle and often results in rear-end collisions. While some drivers tailgate purposely in order to intimidate other motorists, others may do so because they are not paying attention to the road.
Tailgating is considered a type of aggressive driving. A typical scenario is when a driver decides that the car in front is moving too slowly, so he or she proceeds to crowd that car from behind. Other times, tailgating serves as a threatening maneuver, and the driver ahead is meant to understand that he or she is being aggressively followed. When tailgating is a result of aggression, not only is there a high likelihood of a collision, but there is also a risk that the aggressive behavior will escalate to even more dangerous forms. If a driver finds himself or herself tailgated aggressively, a solution is to move away and do not respond by word, gesture or even eye contact.
Other times, a driver may get too close to other vehicles due to distraction. A driver who is affected by alcohol, drugs or sleep deprivation may also lack the reflexes and attention span to maintain an adequate distance. Drivers should do their best to keep their distance from a vehicle participating in erratic driving, such as weaving, drifting or tailgating, as these danger signs can indicate a level of impairment that may result in even more drastic behavior.
Defining a proper distance
How close is too close? Most people learn the three-second rule: It should take no less than three seconds of driving to close the distance between one car and the car ahead. This is supposed to give drivers enough time to come to a stop or slow down if the car ahead slows or stops. There are several factors that can affect a driver’s ability to avoid a rear-end crash on short notice. These include weather, visibility and road conditions. A driver operating a large truck will take longer than a passenger vehicle to come to a stop even under normal conditions, due to the inertia created by its mass. The faster someone drives, the longer it takes to stop. In all of these cases, drivers should remember to keep a safe distance.
Every day, accidents happen because drivers ignore rules about tailgating. Drivers who have suffered a rear-end collision may be entitled to payments for medical bills, loss of earnings and other damages covered by the party at fault. Contacting a knowledgeable lawyer in the area is the first step to find out more about available options.