Mitchell Lattof | March 5, 2021 | Car Accidents
Tailgating is an aggressive driving behavior that causes thousands of accidents each year. The reasons for tailgating vary, but they are all related to human error and negligence. If we could stop tailgating from happening, thousands of accidents could be avoided each year.
How Common Are Tailgating Accidents?
Tailgating results in rear-end collisions. A driver follows another vehicle in front of him too closely. The front vehicle suddenly slows or stops. Because the driver is following too closely, he cannot stop his vehicle in time to avoid a rear-end accident.
It is estimated that rear-end crashes account for about one-third of traffic accidents. In 2018, there were more than 2.17 million rear-end accidents nationwide. Rear-end accidents resulted in 594,000 injury crashes and 2,439 fatal crashes in 2018.
Common Causes of Tailgating Accidents
As mentioned above, driver negligence is generally the main contributing factor in a rear-end accident. Following too closely or tailgating reduces the time a driver has to stop before hitting the car in front of him.
The reasons a driver tailgates include:
- Being in a rush or impatient
- Distracted driving
- Cutting off other drivers (making improper lane changes)
- Road rage
- Congested traffic conditions
- Aggressive driving and reckless driving
- Driver fatigue
- Impaired driving
Many drivers failed to recognize the dangers of tailgating. They have a false sense of security that they can stop before they cause an accident. Unfortunately, many of these individuals are wrong.
Common Types of Injuries Caused by Tailgating Accidents
In addition to a number of other factors, the speed and size of the vehicles involved in the crash have an impact on the severity of the crash injuries. Also, victims in the middle vehicles of a multi-vehicle chain reaction tailgating accident can sustain severe injuries from being hit from behind and slammed into another vehicle in front.
Examples of injuries caused by tailgating include:
- Neck injuries, including whiplash and cervical herniated discs
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Chest injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Seat belt syndrome
- Soft tissue injuries
After a car accident, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. Injuries caused by rear-end crashes can be deceptive. You might not experience any symptoms for a few hours or days after the crash.
Delays in medical treatment could cause your injury to worsen. The delay in documenting your injuries through medical records could also make it more difficult to recover a fair settlement for your injuries and damages.
Filing a Personal Injury Claim for a Tailgating Accident
In most cases, the person in the rear vehicle is charged with causing the accident. However, never assume that a rear-end accident claim is a “sure thing.” The insurance company for the other driver might claim that you contributed to the cause of the accident.
Alabama’s pure contributory negligence law means you cannot receive any money for your claim if you are even one percent at fault for the crash. Therefore, if the insurance company alleges you were partially at fault for the crash, contact a car accident attorney immediately for help.
Provided that you have sufficient evidence proving the other driver caused the rear-end crash, you could recover compensation for your:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering, including mental anguish, physical pain, and emotional distress
- Personal care costs
- Decreases in earning potential
- Permanent impairments and disabilities
- Decrease in your quality of life
The value of your accident claim depends on how severely you were injured, your financial losses, and other factors. A personal injury attorney can help you document your damages and calculate a value that is fair and just.
Can You Avoid Tailgating Accidents?
Because most rear-end accidents are preventable, you can reduce your risk of a tailgating accident. Putting more distance between you and the vehicle in front of you is the best way to avoid a tailgating accident. The additional distance increases the time you have to avoid a crash.
Other ways you can avoid accidents caused by tailgating include:
- Leave early to allow yourself more time to reach your destination
- Always slow down and allow for extra room between vehicles in poor weather conditions or dangerous driving conditions
- If someone is tailgating your vehicle, do not brake check, but just allow the tailgater to pass
- Do not drive when you are intoxicated or drowsy
- Avoid distractions that take your focus off the road ahead
- Do not give in to road rage or drive aggressively
- Always drive the speed limit
If you cause a rear-end accident, the other driver could sue you for damages. You do not want to be the person who causes another person to be injured or killed. You also do not want to bear the financial cost of an accident you caused if your insurance coverage is not enough to pay the accident claim in full.