The Texas Department of Insurance warns drivers that tailgating is risky and is responsible for many rear-end car accidents, which account for 23 percent of all motor vehicle crashes each year, 2,000 deaths, and 950,000 injuries. These stark statistics show that tailgating is one of the most dangerous driving behaviors out there.
At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, our knowledgeable car accident attorneys have years of experience serving Houston injury victims, including those who were injured in tailgating accidents. We want to help you recover the compensation you deserve after being harmed by a negligent driver. Contact us today for a free case review.
What Is Tailgating?
Tailgating describes following, or tailing, other vehicles too closely. Tailgating puts everyone on the road at risk. When drivers follow too closely, they often don’t have enough time to react when traffic slows or stops unexpectedly. This can lead to devastating rear-end crashes that injure the occupants of both the leading and tailgating vehicle. In some cases, tailgating accidents cause multi-car pileups and serious injuries.
Why Tailgating Is a Top Cause of Car Accidents
Tailgating decreases the amount of time a driver has to react, increasing the possibility of a collision. Additionally, drivers who tailgate other vehicles often act aggressively, which means they are more focused on their feelings than the safety of others. That’s inexcusable and grounds for liability in any wreck they cause. Drivers blinded by uncontrollable rage are just as dangerous as impaired or distracted drivers.
The following statistics shed light on the dangers of tailgating and why tailgating causes car accidents:
- Tailgating is a leading cause of rear-end collisions. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, nearly half of all car crashes between two vehicles were rear-end collisions.
- Tailgating can lead to deadly consequences. More than seven percent of rear-end collisions in a recent year resulted in fatalities, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- This driving behavior can lead to a tailgating attack. According to the American Safety Council, half of all surveyed drivers in a recent year admitted to retaliating against tailgating drivers and other aggressive drivers by becoming aggressive themselves. Drivers who responded aggressively confessed to blaring their horns, making rude gestures, shouting, and flashing their lights. In other situations, drivers may respond violently or by tapping their brakes repeatedly, which can lead to an accident.
- Tailgating upsets other drivers. In a Zebra survey, 21.4 percent of drivers considered tailgating the most “enraging” driving behavior, second only to distracted driving (27.7 percent).
How to Avoid Tailgating Car Accidents
You can’t predict or control the behavior of the drivers around you. But there are certain precautions you can take to avoid a tailgating accident, such as:
- Leaving enough room to stop safely between your vehicle and the vehicle ahead of you. The main cause of rear-end car accidents is inadequate following distance. Make sure you leave enough distance ahead of your vehicle to react in time to unexpected changes in the flow of traffic. Do not tailgate the car in front of you.
- Paying attention to the types of vehicles around you. Motorcycles and larger vehicles such as buses and trucks require more time to stop, so it’s a good idea to adjust your speed and following distance accordingly.
- Doubling your following distance in inclement weather conditions. Dense fog, rain, and snow all reduce visibility and traction on the road. In poor weather conditions, you should double your following distance so that you have more time to react.
- Allowing tailgating drivers to pass in front of you. The idea of letting a tailgating car have its way may seem infuriating, but it’s better than being injured in a crash.
What Are the Three Timing Rules Used to Avoid Car Accidents Caused by Tailgating?
Even if you know you should allow plenty of space between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you, it’s not always easy to ensure a safe following distance on the highway. One helpful solution involves remembering these three timing rules:
- The two-second rule. When the roadway is dry and you have clear visibility, allow two seconds between yourself and the vehicle ahead of you. When the car in front of you passes a sign or landmark, you should be able to count two full seconds before you pass the same spot.
- The four-second rule. If the road is wet with rain or other slippery substances, increase your distance to allow four seconds of following time.
- The ten-second rule. In extremely bad conditions such as ice or snow, you should increase your following time to at least ten seconds.
Who Is at Fault in a Tailgating Car Accident?
The Texas Transportation Code requires drivers to maintain safe following distances on the road. But just because someone is tailgating, that doesn’t automatically mean they are 100 percent at fault for a car crash.
Liability in a tailgating accident may be assigned to:
- The following driver. In most cases, the driver who tailgates is found at fault because the accident could have been avoided if they hadn’t been following too closely. Tailgating drivers may receive traffic citations and be held financially responsible in insurance claims or civil lawsuits.
- The leading driver. Sometimes, drivers on the receiving end of tailgating may “brake check” the following driver in retaliation. When this occurs, insurance adjusters, judges, or juries may assign a portion of the blame to the leading driver.
Contact Our Tailgating Car Accident Lawyers in Houston
If you were injured in a Houston tailgating car accident, talk to an experienced car accident lawyer now. The team at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian can help you understand your legal rights, gather critical evidence to prove the other driver’s liability, and demand the money you need from the at-fault party.
Our compassionate team is available any time, day or night, to answer your questions. We won’t charge you anything unless we recover the compensation you need. When you’re ready to take action, contact us to get started with your free consultation.