Photo courtesy of the WSP

Tailgater Causes Car Accident

A testy tailgater caused a three-car pile-up yesterday, on Highway 240, in eastern Washington. All three vehicles were damaged and at least one person injured.  A 30-year old man from Pasco, set off a chain-reaction, when he rear-ended a hatchback that was slowing for traffic. The impact forced the hatchback into the 16-year old leader in their group of cars, damaging his late-model Chevy sedan, as he was also decelerating.

Tailgating, also known as ‘following too close’ behind another vehicle is considered an aggressive driving tactic that can result, not only in rear-end auto accidents, but also in serious health issues for any passengers in affected vehicles.

Following Too Close Increases Chances of an Auto Accident

Following too closely to another vehicle is like playing a game of roulette. There’s always the chance nothing will happen; but there’s also the probability that a tailgater isn’t focusing on the road and events ahead of their target, and in a matter of seconds, brakes are applied and there isn’t enough distance to ward off the impending collision. And before you know it—game over!

Not only did the 30-year-old driver damage his own Toyota Tacoma pick-up, he caused another vehicle to crash into the another car in front of them. It’s like a negative ripple-effect. Ironically, our speedy tailgater was stopped in his tracks by the accident he caused, that also backed traffic up for hours.

Two citations were issued by the Washington State Patrol for this pile-up. One for negligent driving to the 30 year-old Pasco man and a “Following too Close” citation to the hatchback middleman.

Auto Accidents are Highly Preventable

Car accidents can happen fast! But of all the auto accident-types, following too close behind another vehicle is a hazard that is 100% preventable. Some justify their actions and often complain that they are running late, or maybe the lead car wasn’t doing the speed limit—whatever the reason, it’s not worth the risk of harm or injury to bully other drivers into exceeding speed limits or maneuvering them into unsafe driving patterns.

The results of accidents from following too closely isn’t about just the damaged vehicles, but the preventability of loss of life, limb, and property. Don’t forget rising medical costs, the loss of time at work, rising insurance rates, and legal fines and penalties.

Traffic Safety Tips to Prevent an Auto Accident

Here are a few tips for all drivers to avoid speeding hazards, following too closely, and other unsafe traffic behaviors:

  1.  GO WITH THE FLOW—try to maintain a legal speed that is consistent with surrounding vehicles.
  2.  Allow plenty of time to reach your destination so you will be less likely to speed.
  3.  Drive at a speed that is appropriate for current conditions. Remember, the posted speed limit is the maximum allowable speed. Often, it is safer and more prudent to drive at a slower speed. Consider road and weather conditions, traffic volumes, school zones and other factors that might warrant a slower speed.
  4. Slow down in road construction zones.
  5. Don’t tailgate! Following too closely reduces your visibility of the road ahead and also reduces your reaction time. Maintain a minimum following distance from the vehicle ahead of you of one car length for every 10 miles per hour of speed.
  6. Always signal any lane change or turning movement well ahead of the event.
  7. Don’t cut off another vehicle, especially large trucks or buses.
  8. Avoid alcohol and drug before and during driving.
  9. Buckle up! It is your last line of defense. Remember, seat belts save lives.

Being “pushy” and aggressive does not bold well on the road; thus, the citable offense of “following too close.” Obeying the laws, following the speed limit, and being courteous to fellow drivers will go a long way in keeping the roads a safe place to travel for everyone.  For more great techniques on how to avoid getting rear-ended by tailgaters, check out:

If you or someone you love has been injured in a rear-end accident or by an aggressive driver, contact Fielding Law Group today. Don’t let an accident wreck YOU!