car tailgating another car on highway

Car accidents can be damaging and traumatizing. Tailgating accidents are a common occurrence on U.S. roads. If you were involved in a rear-end collision contact a Rockland County car accident lawyer for skilled representation.

What is Tailgating?

Tailgating occurs when a driver drives behind another vehicle without leaving enough distance to avoid a collision if the car in front of them were to stop suddenly. If you have ever driven on the highway and noticed that the car behind you seemed dangerously close, they were tailgating you.

If you had to brake suddenly because of an animal or pedestrian darting out into the road, debris or a hazard on the street, or to avoid a collision with the car in front of you, the car behind you will likely not be able to brake in time to stop. They will probably end up causing a rear-end collision that could evolve into a multi-car pileup.

How is Tailgating Dangerous?

Tailgating can cause serious damage and injury. On highways, drivers typically travel between 50 and 80 miles per hour. Driving at such speeds can be dangerous especially if unexpected hazards or events appear.

Studies show that cars traveling at approximately 50 miles per hour require at least 125 feet to come to a full stop. Drivers traveling at 80 miles per hour need about 320 feet of braking distance. These measurements do not account for the time it takes for a driver to process the need to brake and react.

The faster a vehicle is traveling, the harsher the force of the impact if an accident occurs. An accident caused by tailgating on a highway can result in serious property damage to two or more vehicles, injuries, and even death.

How Often Do Tailgating Accidents Occur?

Unfortunately, accidents caused by tailgating are fairly common. Statistics show that about one in three car accidents per year are caused by tailgating and rear-end collisions. Drivers may tailgate for various reasons including the following.

  • Road rage: Aggressive driving is a major reason that drivers choose to tailgate. If someone cuts a driver off or is going too slow they may speed up and follow closely behind them to purposefully make the car in front nervous and uncomfortable.
  • Distracted driving: Drivers may not realize they are driving so close to the car in front of them. If they are participating in distracted driving by texting, checking social media, eating, changing the song, etc. they could quickly approach the vehicle in front without realizing it.
  • Intoxication: Impairment from the use of drugs or alcohol can cause a driver to lack awareness and depth perception. Intoxication can impact vision, consciousness, and decision-making skills. An intoxicated driver may tailgate because they want to drive recklessly or because they are incapable of operating the vehicle safely.
  • Lack of knowledge: Many people are told that a safe distance between them and the vehicle ahead of them is 2 car lengths. While this can be true, the faster you are driving the more distance you need to keep. Try to keep at least a three-second distance between yourself and the car in front of you.