The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies tailgating as aggressive driving behavior. As an Illinois car accident lawyer may know, motorists who engage in the activity are putting themselves and others at risk. In fact, the NHTSA estimates that almost one-fourth of all car crashes are rear-end accidents, many of which occur because vehicles were traveling too closely.
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Here’s a summary of the several reasons tailgating in Illinois or across the country is so dangerous:
1. Less reaction time
Somebody who is tailgating is driving extremely closely to another vehicle. This gives the motorist less time to be able to come to a stop should something occur. In addition to the time it takes to realize a stop is necessary, a driver also has to actually slow and stop the car.
The U.S. Department of Transportation provides a basic rule of thumb: ikeep one car length between cars for every 10 miles the driver is traveling. Therefore, someone moving at 60 miles an hour should keep at least six car lengths between vehicles. This is based on the theory that a car going at 60 miles an hour will need 240 feet to come to a complete stop.
2. Road rage
Northstar and Expedia collaborated to put together the 2014 Road Rage Report, which demonstrates that inciting anger is one of many tailgating risks. As an Illinois car accident lawyer may have seen, someone who tailgates another driver may spark road rage. In fact, 60 percent of respondents in the study noted that tailgating is one of the most aggressive driving behaviors.
3. Increased risk of an accident
A study from the American Automobile Association found that aggressive driving was involved in nearly 56 percent of all car crashes. While speeding and distracted driving are forms of aggressive behavior behind the wheel, so is tailgating. People who engage in the behavior are more likely to cause an accident and injuries.
4. Reduced visibility
Driving closely behind another vehicle actually reduces motorists’ scope of vision. Because the cars in front of them are so close, they may not be able to see any potential obstructions or safety hazards on the road ahead.
5. Traffic ticket
Lastly, following too closely is illegal in Illinois. According to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, commercial drivers who engage in the behavior can actually lose their commercial driver’s licenses. While receiving a ticket may not be the worst thing that can stem from tailgating, it is certainly inconvenient and expensive.
The Illinois Department of Transportation recommends handling tailgaters by moving into another lane or letting them pass. The department suggests that drivers who have been tailgated should not make eye contact or interact in any way with the offending motorist.
Anyone who has questions regarding this matter should consult with an Illinois car accident lawyer.