tailgating causes car accident

Liability When Tailgating/Following Too Closely Causes an Accident

Rear-end collisions can cause devastating injuries and even fatalities. In Alabama and throughout the United States, rear-end accidents often occur when one driver fails to leave sufficient distance between their vehicle and the one in from of them.

Motorists who tailgate other cars can usually be held legally accountable for the consequences of the wreck they cause, including medical bills, property damages, and lost income. If you have been involved in a rear-end accident caused by tailgating, consult a knowledgeable and experienced car accident lawyer in Alabama for strong legal representation.

The Perils of Tailgating

If a vehicle travels at 60 mph, it would require at least 240 feet of space to make a complete halt. This distance is equivalent to 0.20 times the length of a semitrailer. Effectively, you require a significant amount of time and space to stop when you are moving at 60 mph. In case the motorist of the vehicle ahead of you suddenly slows down, and you are less than a few seconds behind them, you may not be able to stop before colliding into the bumper of the vehicle in front.

Tailgating is hazardous in any type of weather. However, it is especially dangerous when the roadways are wet due to sleet or rain. Under such circumstances, you require even more room between your car and the one ahead of you.

It seems logical to think that one can avoid an accident merely by keeping their eyes firmly on the vehicle in front of them. But it can take one to two seconds to respond to a hazard on the road. If you are overly close to the vehicle ahead of you, one or two seconds could be just enough of a delay to lead to an accident. Tailgating is especially dangerous for oversized vehicles, which typically need more space and time to stop than smaller automobiles.

Further, you should not tailgate a vehicle that is significantly larger than yours, such as a commercial truck. If you are on an interstate or a highway, an accident is likely to occur at high speed, and your vehicle could potentially slide under the rear of a trailer. The trailer’s bottom will likely be higher than the hood of your car, and it may even come up through the windshield. These wrecks are usually life-threatening.

Also, tailgating is dangerous as it can cause the motorist being tailgated to feel intimidated, causing stress and the inability to focus while on the road. Besides, being tailgated is seen as an invasion of space, which can result in road rage. The motorist being tailgated might intentionally slam on their brakes out of annoyance.

Reasons for Tailgating

Motorists usually tailgate due to aggressive driving or a fit of road rage. They may find themselves in heavy traffic and feel very frustrated about it. Often, you see tailgating on interstates or other roads with higher speed limits than surface roads. A motorist in the far-left lane closes in on another vehicle that is moving at a much slower speed and is forced to slow down to prevent an accident.

But the motorist does not slow down to maintain a safe distance between their vehicle and the one ahead of them. In case this occurs at night, the tailgating motorist may flash their headlights to signal that they want the other driver to change lanes and move out of the way.

Tailgating can also be an outcome of distracted driving. If, say, in a traffic jam, a motorist may look at their phone or fiddle with the radio, they may not have enough time to stop as the bumper of the lead vehicle closes in on them.

People also tailgate due to the force of habit. Some drivers get into the habit of tailgating, so much so that they don’t even realize they are doing it. They may mistakenly believe that they will be alright as they can react rapidly and keep their eyes firmly on the road.

Tips on Preventing a Tailgating Accident

Drivers can take certain measures to reduce the possibility of being involved in a tailgating accident. These measures include:

  • Drive at an appropriate speed
  • Maintain a safe following distance
  • Double your distance in inclement weather

Concerning the following distance, Alabama law requires the following:

  • Drivers cannot follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonably safe
  • Drivers must consider the speed of the car and other traffic along with road conditions when determining a safe following distance

Schedule a Consultation with a Skilled Auto Accident Attorney

Maintaining a safe following distance may allow you to avoid a catastrophic vehicle accident. But other motorists may not drive their vehicles safely, resulting in a serious injury to you if they collide with the back of your vehicle.

If you were injured in a rear-end accident caused due to someone else tailgating you, an accomplished personal injury lawyer at Burge & Burge can help you pursue maximum compensation for the losses you have endured, including medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering. To schedule a no-charge case evaluation, call us today at 205-251-9000.

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