Posted on: Sep. 25, 2017 in Driving, Safety

Did you know that rear end collisions are the most popular type of vehicle accident? They are, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While there can always be a multitude of reasons that an accident occurs, this type of collision happens more often than others for one particular reason very often: tailgating.


Tailgating happens when a vehicle follows another vehicle too closely. The second car may feel the first car is moving too slowly, or the second car may be in a hurry. Tailgating is often seen as an act of aggression and can be part of a road rage incident. Or, it can simply be that the second driver doesn’t realize how close they are driving to the other car. Regardless of the reason, it’s dangerous.

When a driver tailgates, they don’t have enough time to stop their car before it hits another vehicle in front of it. When traffic slows down or comes to a stop, the vehicles that follow behind must be able to react quickly enough to avoid a crash.

For drivers who don’t realize how much room a vehicle needs to stop, tailgating can happen innocently. In order to avoid a collision from following too closely, drivers should use the three-second rule. Simply, this means there is a minimum of three seconds worth of distance between a car and the car in front of it.

Determining a safe following distance is easy.

  • First, pick a marker up ahead. This could be an overhead sign, a roadside building, a tree, or some other stationary object.
  • When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, begin to count the seconds until your vehicle passes that same landmark.
  • Count by using the one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand method.
  • If you count at least three seconds, you’re at a safe following distance.
  • Keep in mind more is better, especially in rain or snow.
  • If you pass the object before three seconds are up, then you are too close. You’ll want to slow down and count again when there’s more distance between the cars.

Remember, all the distance in the world won’t be enough if you’re not paying attention to the road and the other cars. Texting, talking, fiddling with the radio, eating or drinking can all distract you, causing you to use up some of your precious few seconds to react. Keep distractions to a minimum, follow speed limits, and remain vigilant in monitoring traffic conditions. If you notice the roadway becoming more congested, slow down and leave additional space to allow for sudden stops.

By avoiding tailgating and following too closely, you’ll have more chance to avoid a rear end collision.

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