December 12, 2020 | Car Accidents
Every year millions of drivers are involved in rear-end collisions. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, these car accidents result in significant damage and loss of life, totaling nearly 2,000 deaths per year.
One of the foremost causes of rear-end collisions is tailgating – or driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you. There are many reasons drivers tailgate, everything from doing so mindlessly to doing so as an act of revenge for something the other car recently did. Whatever the reason people tailgate, the results can be catastrophic.
Why Tailgating Increases the Risk of a Collision
Obviously, the main reason tailgating is a bad idea is because it can increase the risk of collision. This is the case because the car that is tailgating does not have enough time to react should the front vehicle need to brake abruptly.
On roads and freeways where cars are sometimes moving in excess of 70 miles per hour every second helps. When you follow the car in front of you too closely, you need as much time as possible to brake or swerve out of the way if the vehicle in front of you needs to brake suddenly.
If you are following the car in front of you too closely and do crash into them, there is also the possibility that it could lead to a chain reaction of collisions with the vehicle behind you crashing into you. The same with the vehicle behind that vehicle.
Finally, though it is not the same as a collision, tailgating can lead to confrontations with the vehicle in front of you. If the driver in front of you feels as though your tailgating is particularly malicious, they may feel inclined to confront you. Unfortunately, such scenes of road rage are not uncommon.
Common Injuries Caused By Tailgating
Because of the nature of a rear-end collision, there are several types of injuries that are common in such an accident. These injuries include:
- Neck injuries caused by the whiplash motion
- Head injuries caused by hitting your head on the steering wheel
- Spinal cord injuries including paralysis
Other injuries are possible and no injury should go unreported. Even if you aren’t experiencing much pain, you should consult a physician as soon as possible. In some cases, an injury might appear minor at first only to fester and become more serious later on.
What to Do if Another Vehicle is Tailgating You
If for some reason a vehicle is tailgating you, there are several things you can do to avoid a collision. There are also steps you can take to keep other drivers from tailgating you in the first place, including:
- Drive in the right lane on freeways and only use the left lane to pass-slower moving cars
- If a car is tailgating you move over to the right lane
One thing you should never do if a car is tailgating you is tap on your brakes. Some think this is a way to get the driver’s attention and let them know to back off. However, even a slight brake tap can lead to a collision if the driver isn’t paying attention.
Finally, you can make sure you are never guilty of tailgating. If you drive defensively and give the car in front of you enough space, it could inspire other drivers to follow your example. You can even tell others about your resolve to never tailgate again and educate them on the benefits of choosing to always drive safely.
What You Should Do If Another Driver Rear-Ends You Because They Were Tailgating
If you have been injured in a rear-end collision because another driver was tailgating, you should contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified lawyer will be able to examine your case and determine your chances of recovery.
If it seems as though there is a strong argument in your favor, he or she can represent you for the entirety of your case and make sure you receive as favorable a settlement or verdict as possible.