Washington state law says that a driver should not follow more closely than is reasonable. In other words–no tailgating. The West Richland Police Department found a lot of the motor vehicle crashes that happened in 2017 were caused by tailgaters–drivers who follow too closely on the road.
Winter has only made the traffic issue more apparent, with it getting darker sooner, and more weather-related mishaps occurring. Their conclusion is that drivers don’t seem to be leaving enough distance between themselves and other vehicles on the road. Sergeant Terry Boehmler, with West Richland PD, cautioned, “You have to have heads up because the physical dynamics of everything just do not work in our favor. Cars can only stop so fast, we can only react so fast.”
Simple math shows how long it takes to come to a complete stop. “430 feet. That is how far you will travel before your car even starts reacting to steering input gas input brake input.” And he cautions those that are following too close that aren’t able to stop in time, “How far into that guys trunk are you? Really far.”
Just recognizing the need to stop and deciding what to do takes on average three seconds. Sergeant Terry Boehmler says it best to buy yourself some time by not getting too close to the car in front of you because it’s physically impossible to react fast enough to prevent a rear-end collision, even in short distances.
Looking out for the safety of everyone on the road–local law enforcement want this year to be better! To help draw attention to the problem and help the public be more aware of what needs to change this year, West Richland police said they are going to be targeting drivers that are following too close.
And what to do if you’re the one being tailgated? Move to the right lane to avoid any escalating road rage incidents. You can also call the police and give them the license plate number of the vehicle. http://keprtv.com/news/local/west-richland-police-are-cracking-down-on-tailgaters
Bumper to Bumper Driving Causes Auto Accidents
We’re all in a hurry to get where we need to go. But driving safely is no accident! Rear-end collisions, usually preceded by drivers rushing or following too closely, account for 23% of roadway fatalities every year. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that that’s about 2,000 deaths and 950,000 injuries! And sadly, most of those collisions could be prevented with a little patience and space.
Being a defensive driver is smart. That means a driver puts some extra space around their vehicle to guard against any bumper to bumper traffic incidents or crashes. Space is free and one of the greatest safety assets to any driver on the road.
It’s about TIME!
Timing can be everything! In terms of space–two seconds is a safe distance to space yourself between vehicles. But in the case of inclement weather or poor driving conditions, that timing should be doubled to four seconds or more for safer reaction times and maintaining a safe buffer distance.
We know that when drivers tailgate, they significantly reduce their stopping distance–or the distance that is needed to come to a complete and safe stop. What many don’t realize is that the stopping distance is directly proportional to the size and weight of your vehicle. For example, the stopping distance is much longer for a heavy truck compared to a smaller passenger car. In fact, it takes about twice the distance to stop the heavier truck when compared to a lighter car. https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/driver-safety/cmv-driving-tips-following-too-closely
Don’t Give in to the Frustration
Being tailgated is one of the most irritating things that can happen to you while you’re driving. It’s actually a form of aggressive driving and like the West Richland Police Department said–it happens a lot. But the best way to handle an aggressive driver goes back to space. Give them room to move along and don’t let them jeopardize your safety. Here are some things that you can do to get another driver off your bumper:
- Always drive in the right-hand lane except when passing.
- Use turnouts when available to let the other driver pass.
- If you’re on a winding road, do not speed up when you reach a passing zone. Be courteous and maintain a slow enough speed to allow the other driver to pass.
- Do not tap your brakes to send the other driver a message. Road rage is NEVER a good thing to encourage.
Here to Help
If you or a loved one have been hurt or injured in a motor vehicle crash caused by a tailgating driver, call Fielding Law Group today for a free appointment and review of your case. Consulting with a personal injury attorney is one of the best ways to determine your legal rights after an accident. Our experienced auto accident attorneys and legal team at Fielding Law Group will fight and get the compensation you are entitled to for injuries caused by an at-fault driver. Remember–Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!
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