How Dangerous Is Tailgating?
Tailgating is when a driver comes up very close behind the vehicle in front of them on purpose. This does not leave enough room to stop if the first driver applies the brakes. People often tailgate because they are in a hurry to get somewhere or just because the car in front is not moving quickly enough for them. The purpose is to scare or intimidate the driver ahead, and often, the aggressor also flashes their lights, uses their car horn, shouts expletives, and uses aggressive gestures.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a standard passenger vehicle traveling 55 miles per hour needs about five seconds and 300 feet to stop. This time and distance increase when drivers have slow reaction times, cars are heavier, and road conditions are slippery. This is why tailgating can cause car accidents.
Besides the decreased stopping times, tailgating also reduces driver reaction times. Drivers need to physically react to what their brains perceive and might be unable to apply the brakes or turn the wheel fast enough to avoid a crash.
Besides rear-end collisions, a tailgater might suddenly swerve into another lane to avoid hitting the vehicle in front; instead, they slam into a car in another lane or into oncoming traffic.
What Should I Do When Someone Is Tailgating Me?
It is always important to be aware of the vehicles around you to ensure enough room on all sides to prevent accidents. If you see a car following too closely behind, err on the side of caution. You never know how an aggressive driver will react when provoked, and engaging with them could escalate the situation.
Avoid slowing down, speeding up, flashing your lights, or reacting in any other way that could increase the driver’s aggression. Put your blinker on and move into the adjacent lane when it is safe. Typically, tailgaters pass at the same speed they were going but do not be surprised if they speed up or slow down. Stay as far away as possible and call the authorities if they continue the aggressive behavior.
Contact a Bowie Car Accident Lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King for a Free Consultation
A tailgating crash can lead to severe injuries, property damage, or worse. For more information, contact an experienced Bowie car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Washington, D.C., Alexandria, and Falls Church, Virginia, we serve clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.