Reasons You Should Avoid Following Other Vehicles Too Closely

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on January 4, 2019 in Car Accidents
Updated on February 24, 2022

driver following another carToo many drivers tailgate other vehicles, which means they drive too close behind them. This is a top cause of car accidents, particularly in high traffic or when there is bad weather, such as snow, rain, or ice on the roads.

Tailgating is dangerous for a variety of reasons, and it is completely unnecessary. If you have been injured in a tailgating accident, contact our Milwaukee car accident attorneys for a free, no obligation consultation now. We know how to determine the full value of your claim and are experienced at negotiating fair compensation.

Dangers of Following too Close

Many dangers arise from tailgating situations, for both the car ahead and the vehicle doing the tailgating.

  • Tailgating severely limits stopping time – With so little space between vehicles, if the first vehicle stops suddenly or maneuvers, the tailgating vehicle has little to no time to safely stop and avoid a collision.
  • Tailgating limits vision – When tailgating another vehicle, your forward line of vision is severely blocked by that vehicle. You may not be able to see upcoming hazards due to this, such as potholes in the road. The vehicle in front will also kick up more dirt, water, and debris onto your windshield, further limiting vision.
  • Tailgating has the potential to cause road rage – This is because tailgating is typically viewed as an invasion of space by the driver being tailgated. The tailgated driver may intentionally hit his or her brakes or retaliate in other ways.
  • The tailgated driver may feel intimidated – This can lead to stress, which pulls attention away from the task of driving, increasing the risk of an accident if the driver fails to notice hazards such as road conditions or traffic.

How to Avoid Tailgating

The following tips will help you avoid tailgating and help lower your risk of a crash:

  • Travel at a speed appropriate that provides you enough time to make a safe stop behind the vehicle you are following. The speed limit is not appropriate in all situations – lower your speed when driving in poor weather or heavy traffic, giving you more time to make a safe reaction to any hazards that may arise.
  • Leave the proper amount of space between you and the vehicle you are following to give you enough time for reactions. Ten feet of distance for every 10 miles per hour you are traveling is a good rule to follow. Since larger vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to safely stop, allow even more space between you and them when following.
  • In inclement weather, double your following distance. Traction is reduced in these conditions, increasing the likelihood of skids that can cause a loss of control. Maintaining a greater following distance helps to prevent accidents, allowing more time to make a safe correction.

How Far Behind Should You Be?

Measuring your following distance by seconds is a smart rule to follow, and easier for some than judging distance between vehicles in feet. Measure distances by counting the seconds from the time the vehicle ahead of you passes a fixed object until you reach it:

  • Two seconds is adequate on a clear, dry road.
  • Four seconds is appropriate on rainy days when roads are wet.
  • Ten seconds is best when road conditions are poor, including icy and snowy roads.

Allow more time between you and the vehicle in front of you in the following situations:

  • When you are being followed by a tailgater
  • When a driver behind you wants to make a pass
  • If you are towing a trailer or transporting heavy loads
  • If you are behind a large vehicle blocking your view
  • If you are merging
  • If you are behind a school bus or placarded vehicle at a railroad crossing, as these vehicles must stop

Contact Our Car Accident Attorneys for Help

A tailgating accident can result in severe injuries or even death. Our car accident attorneys are prepared to fight for the compensation you deserve for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

Request a free, no obligation consultation now. We charge no upfront fees and payment is only owed if we recover compensation for you.

Call 877-877-2228 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form now.

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