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What Are the Dangers of Tailgating?

Our Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm Advocate for Accident Victims Injured by Aggressive Drivers

Tailgating occurs when one driver drives too closely behind another vehicle.  Unfortunately, it is a common behavior on the roads that poses significant dangers to drivers and passengers alike.  The following discusses the hazards tailgating causes and why maintaining a safe following distance is important for road safety. 

One of the primary dangers of tailgating is the heightened risk of car accidents. When drivers follow too closely, they have limited time to react to sudden stops or changes in traffic conditions. This reduced reaction time significantly increases the likelihood of rear-end collisions, among the most common types of road accidents.

Other dangers of tailgating include:

  • Limited visibility: Tailgating obstructs the driver’s view of the road ahead. When a vehicle is tailgating, the driver’s line of sight is restricted, making it challenging to anticipate potential hazards, obstacles, or sudden stops. Limited visibility increases the chances of a driver being caught off guard, leading to accidents.
  • Chain reaction collisions: Tailgating not only endangers the driver engaging in the behavior but also poses a threat to other vehicles on the road. A rear-end collision caused by tailgating can trigger a chain reaction involving multiple vehicles. This domino effect can result in more severe accidents and injuries.
  • Inability to brake effectively: Following too closely diminishes the effectiveness of a driver’s braking system. When drivers tailgate, they may not have sufficient space to brake gradually in response to traffic changes. This can lead to abrupt and potentially dangerous stops, increasing the risk of collisions.
  • Road rage and aggressive driving: Tailgating is often associated with aggressive driving behaviors and road rage. When a driver feels pressured by a tailgater, it can escalate tensions on the road and lead to aggressive responses. This hostile environment contributes to a more dangerous driving atmosphere for everyone on the road.
  • Reduced reaction time in adverse weather conditions: Adverse weather conditions such as rain, snow, or fog already pose challenges to safe driving. Tailgating exacerbates these challenges by reducing the driver’s reaction time in slippery or low-visibility conditions. This combination can result in skidding, hydroplaning, or other weather-related accidents.
  • Stress and anxiety: Tailgating poses physical dangers and takes a toll on the mental well-being of the driver being followed closely. The constant pressure and anxiety induced by a tailgater can lead to stress, distraction, and impaired decision-making.
  • Legal consequences: Tailgating is not only dangerous but also carries legal consequences. In many jurisdictions, tailgating is a traffic violation that can result in fines, points on the driver’s license, or even license suspension. Drivers engaging in tailgating may find themselves facing legal repercussions as well.

Why Do So Many People Tailgate?

Even with all the dangers of tailgating, drivers continue to do it.  There is no real explanation as to why drivers choose to tailgate.  Some speculate that drivers may tailgate because they are in a rush and feel that tailgating will get the driver in front of them to speed up.  Others believe tailgating occurs because a driver is angry or frustrated because of another driver’s behavior. 

If you are being tailgated or dealing with an aggressive driver, you should:

  • Switch to the right lane if possible and allow the driver to pass you. 
  • If you can do so safely and are already in the right lane, pull off to the shoulder and let them pass you.  Do not unlock or get out of your car. 
  • You can also pull into a gas station, police station, or parking area to avoid the situation entirely.  Wait until the aggressive driver is gone before you reenter the road. 
  • Call 911 if the driver follows you, approaches your car, or continues their aggressive behavior. 

Our Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm Advocate for Accident Victims Injured by Aggressive Drivers

Our Atlantic City car accident lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm are here to help if an aggressive driver has injured you.  Call us today at 609-926-3300 or fill out our online form for a free consultation.  Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we serve clients in South Jersey, including Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, and Woodbury.