Will Tailgating Cause Car Accidents?

July 18, 2023
Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Accident Survivors Injured by Aggressive Drivers

The vast majority of car accidents are caused by driver negligence. One common cause of car accidents is tailgating; this is when a driver follows the car in front of them too closely. This type of behavior will likely lead to an accident.

Tailgating is dangerous because it does not allow the tailgating driver any time to react should the driver in front stop or slow down. This drastically raises the chances of a rear-end collision, which can turn into a multi-vehicle collision. 

Other dangers of tailgating include:

  • Angering the driver in front, causing them to “brake check” the tailgater, which is tapping the brakes to scare the tailgater into backing off. This can lead to a rear-end crash.
  • May cause the tailgating driver to act irrationally or increases their aggression.
  • The tailgating driver may abruptly pull onto an adjacent lane and hit another car or guardrail. 
  • Tailgating at highway speeds can cause catastrophic damage, serious injuries, or death. 

Why Do Drivers Tailgate?

Tailgating is a form of aggressive driving. Researchers who study the psychology of driving found a few reasons why many drivers tailgate, including:

  • Aggressive drivers not only tailgate but will exhibit behavior similarly: cursing at other drivers, honking, speeding, and swerving in and out of lanes. 
  • Some drivers show a false sense of security and believe they can stop their cars quickly. However, drivers need at least two to three seconds to react in time and safely to a stop, and tailgating allows less than one second of reaction time. 
  • Other tailgating drivers believe that their needs take precedence over others.

How to Prevent Tailgating Accidents?

Tailgating accidents are preventable. To prevent yourself from tailgating, remember that you have a duty to others to operate your vehicle safely and always drive focused and alert. Here are some ways to avoid being tailgated by another driver, as well as tips to avoid tailgating others:

  • If you are being tailgated, do not engage in aggressive behavior and retaliate by brake checking. Instead, brake slowly, use your turn signal, and move to another lane if possible. 
  • Pull over safely if you are not on a multilane highway and allow the tailgating driver to pass. 
  • Whenever possible, travel in the right lane and let the left lane be used by cars passing each other or traveling fast. 
  • Do not drive too far below the speed limit. However, if you are driving in adverse weather conditions, you can do so for your safety.  
  • To avoid tailgating others, an excellent rule is to allow 10 feet of distance for every 10 miles per hour you travel between yourself and the car in front of you. Double the distance in poor weather. 
  • Always allow yourself enough time to react to whatever occurs in front of you.
  • Remember that larger vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to slow down and stop. 

Chester County Car Accident Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Advocate for Accident Survivors Injured by Aggressive Drivers

Tailgating and other aggressive driving behaviors can easily lead to accidents. If you need legal assistance after a collision, speak with our Chester County car accident lawyers at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. Call us today at 610-565-3701 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. Located in Media and West Chester, Pennsylvania, we serve clients in Delaware County, Chester County, and Montgomery County.