How to Prevent Tailgating Car Accidents
A tailgating accident can cause severe damage in an instant. Tailgate accidents are also mostly preventable. Learning how to prevent tailgating accidents is an integral part of being a safe driver. Whether you’re the driver in front or the driver following, there are important things to know about how to stop a tailgating accident from happening. Our experienced Denver, CO car accident lawyers explain what you should know about how to prevent tailgating accidents.
How to Prevent Tailgating Accidents
To prevent tailgating accidents, be aware of the possibility of tailgating as you drive. If you’re the driver in the back, be sure to leave enough following distance for the vehicle in front of you. Take into account the type of vehicle that you’re driving, visibility on the roads, and the weather conditions.
If you’re the vehicle in front, don’t purposefully check your breaks when you encounter a tailgater. Instead, preventing tailgating accidents means changing lanes or pulling over to allow the impatient driver to pass.
How Do You Stop Tailgating?
To stop tailgating, avoid cutting off other drivers in traffic. Leave enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you to stop if necessary. Remember that the vehicle may not be able to stop as fast as you can stop with your vehicle.
When tailgating occurs, you can call the police if you fear for your safety. You can also change lanes, turn off, or pull over to allow the tailgater to pass. Remember to stay calm and always drive at a safe speed, given road conditions and the volume of traffic.
What Causes Tailgating?
There are several causes of tailgating, including:
- Heavy traffic volume – It can be easy to find yourself tailgating when there’s a lot of traffic around you. You may not want other drivers to try to sneak in before you. The traffic may make you late for an appointment. Tailgating is something to be aware of when you’re stuck in heavy traffic.
- Cutting off – A driver needs enough room to change lanes. When they try to cut someone off to execute a lane change, the result can be tailgating. It’s important to drive defensively and create distance when someone cuts you off.
- Weather – Weather conditions change quickly, especially in certain parts of the country. Drivers may not be prepared to drive in the current weather conditions. What counts as tailgating when it’s icy and snowy may not amount to tailgating in dry weather.
- Lack of perceived risk – Some drivers don’t appreciate how dangerous tailgating really is. They may not even realize that they’re engaging in dangerous behavior. Even a fraction of a second can make the difference between being able to apply the brakes safely and a serious accident.
- Impatience – We all want to get where we’re going. When a driver is in a hurry, it can be tempting to want to inch closer to the vehicle in front of you. Maybe you know it won’t help, but it’s still hard to resist. Impatience on the road can be a cause of tailgating.
- Distracted driving – Distracted driving is the cause of many problems on the road, including tailgating. When a driver focuses on other things besides the road, following distance can be one of the first things that they stop paying attention to. Distracted driving causes tailgating and other problems on the streets.
What Can a Driver Do to Avoid Being Tailgated on a Highway?
To avoid being tailgated on a highway, keep calm. Remember, you can’t control the drivers around you. When a tailgating driver approaches, resist the urge to drive faster. Change lanes if you’re able to so that the driver can pass you.
If that’s not an option, turn off the road even if it’s not on your route. You can also pull to the side of the road to allow the tailgater to pass you. A driver can avoid being tailgated on a highway by driving defensively and responding appropriately when tailgating occurs.
What Should You Never Do If Someone Is Tailgating You?
If someone is tailgating you, you should never check your brakes. Don’t stop suddenly to try to get them to back off or warn them in any other way. The result might be a traffic crash, or the person may respond with road rage.
In addition, if someone is tailgating you, something you should never do is drive faster than you’re comfortable. It can be easy to give in to peer pressure and increase your speed to try to appease the driver. However, you should never adjust your speed beyond your comfort levels for a tailgater.
Can You Call the Police If Someone Is Tailgating You?
Yes, you can call the police if someone is tailgating you. Even if your state has a no cell phone law, there are usually exceptions for emergencies. Colorado cell phone laws allow for cell phone use in emergency situations. The police may respond to the scene, or they may give you advice about how to respond to the tailgater. Responding to traffic safety matters is a function of police work, just like investigating a crime. You can call the police if someone is tailgating you. If you fear for your safety, you should call the police.
Tailgating Accidents and Legal Liability
It is the responsibility of all drivers to leave sufficient following distance to stop for the vehicle in front of them to avoid a rear-end collision. That is, if the car in front of you stops suddenly, you must have the distance between them that you can navigate your vehicle to a stop.
For most people, that means a following distance that’s a lot greater than they realize. While the driver in front may have some obligations too, like to avoid distracted driving and not to brake suddenly without reason, nearly all of the legal duty falls to the vehicle behind to leave enough space to come to a stop.
Contact Our Experienced Denver, Colorado Car Accident Attorneys Today
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Attorney Kyle Bachus knows first-hand how difficult it can be to suddenly lose a loved one in an accident. It’s also devastating when you or a family member suffers severe injuries that forever change your lives.
Kyle wrote this book as a resource from his personal experience for families who have suffered a traumatic loss.