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The Dangers of Tailgating

While we have all found ourselves in a rush to get to our destination from time to time, engaging in the regular habit of following a vehicle too closely (also known as “tailgating”) can be deadly. Not surprisingly, tailgating is the #1 cause of auto accidents each year. If we all follow some simple rules of the road, traffic collisions and road rage could be drastically reduced. With some planning and forethought, you’ll arrive at your destination on time and in one piece.

Road rage?

Tailgating is an aggressive driving behavior that is easily mistaken for road rage. Most rear-end collisions are caused by the vehicle in back following too closely (tailgating). Unfortunately, there are many drivers who enjoy speeding, tailgating, and cutting off other cars just to rush ahead for a few moments. In actuality, these behaviors have little impact on your travel time. If there’s an accident ahead, we ALL will be stuck on the same road, not going anywhere any faster. If you happen to be the cause of the collision, you will have completely defeated the purpose. Start off your trip in the right gear by securing low cost insurance before you head out.

Here are some tips to avoid tailgating and reduce road rage:

  • Leave early if you must
  • Always drive at the posted speed limit
  • Be sure to leave ample space between your vehicle and the one ahead
  • Always use the three-second rule* to avoid tailgating the vehicle ahead of you
  • If you are being followed too closely, move to another lane or turn off the road as soon as possible and allow the tailgater to pass.

What is the three-second rule?

The three-second rule allows a driver to determine whether they are at a safe following distance. This is how you do it:

  1. Find a fixed point – such as a traffic sign, a tree, or a building — that is even with the car ahead of you.
  2. Slowly count the seconds that it takes for you to reach that fixed point.
  3. If you reach the point in over three seconds, congratulations – you’re at a safe following distance. If you reach the point in less than three seconds, you are driving at a dangerous following distance.

The numbers speak for themselves

Tailgating statistics reveal both age differences as well as gender differences in this behavior. 19% of young drivers admit to tailgating dangerously often. This is more than middle-aged drivers (15%) and senior drivers (6%). As you might expect, as we get older, we tend to drive less aggressively. Men take the prize, by representing 79% of tailgaters! Those who drive family or economy cars tailgate half as often than those who drive sports cars and SUVs. However, more female SUV drivers tailgate dangerously, by their own admission, than male drivers of SUVs. It could be that driving a larger vehicle offers a mis-guided feeling of safety.

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