Tailgating, which is just the term used to describe following a vehicle too closely, is the number one cause of rear-end collisions. When a driver follows behind your vehicle at just a few car lengths or less, they are putting you, themselves, and others at danger. There are a few reasons that drivers tailgate, though none of those reasons are acceptable:
- Distracted and looking down at their phone. Drivers who are texting or talking on the phone will drive up close to the rear bumper of a car they are following because, with their limited attention for the road, it is easier to blindly follow another car;
- Impatient drivers tailgate because they are in a hurry. Drivers who want to get around a slower vehicle during heavy traffic will tailgate in an attempt to speed the leading vehicle up;
- Aggressive driving. According to a AAA survey, 51 percent of drivers report purposefully tailgating as a way to express their anger at the driver in front. This is potentially the most dangerous type of tailgater.
- Head in the clouds or simply bad driving habits. Some people tailgate because they are simply not paying attention or do not realize that what they are doing is dangerous. A general rule of thumb is to give at least one car length for every 10 miles per hour, according to CNBC. At 50 miles per hour, you should be at least five car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you. When visibility or the weather is bad, more distance is needed.
Common Injuries Caused By Tailgating Collisions
Some of the most common injuries faced by victims in the leading vehicle in a tailgating collision include the following:
- Severe whiplash;
- Traumatic brain injury;
- Facial injuries, including broken bones, contusions, and lacerations, caused by hitting the steering wheel, side window, or airbag;
- Back injuries; and
- Fractured limbs.
In some cases, the tailgating driver will not have enough time to even touch the brakes before hitting the leading vehicle. This happens most often when the leading vehicle slows for a pedestrian, a light that is turning yellow, or does an emergency brake for any reason when the following vehicle either cannot see what is up ahead, or is not expecting the leading vehicle to slow (such as not expecting that the leading vehicle will slow for a yellow light). As such, some tailgating collisions are very high speed, resulting in serious injuries.
The Other Party May Blame You in Cases of Road Rage
The tailgating driver may actually try to place blame on the leading vehicle and claim that they slammed on their brakes for some reason to either intentionally cause the crash or to “get back at” the driver behind them. If they can prove that you were retaliating for some reason, your claim may be reduced in value, or they may even be able to sue you.
Call a Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Today
Were you the victim of a tailgating collision? We understand what you are going through, and our attorneys are here to help. Reach out to the Kansas City car accident lawyers of the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm for professional assistance. Call us today at 816-399-3356 to schedule a free case evaluation.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.