Few experiences are as unnerving as having a vehicle drive too closely behind you. Yet, plenty of motorists who decry tailgaters inevitably tailgate themselves. Having too little distance between cars makes it difficult to stop in time and can lead to serious car accidents.
Types of Accidents Commonly Associated with Tailgating
Two specific types of accidents are often associated with tailgating. The first is the rear-end collision. Obviously, if a motorist is practically on the back bumper of the car ahead, stopping time decreases. If the driver ahead suddenly puts on the brakes, the driver behind has little time to react. Shortened response time often leads to rear-end collisions.
The other type of accident related to tailgating behavior is a chain reaction. Cars that are tailgating in a row may find that each one has less time and space to stop. When traffic is bumper to bumper, one rear-end collision can lead to dozens of cars in a pile-up.
Injuries Frequently Seen in Tailgating
Driver and passenger victims repeatedly report both whiplash and traumatic brain injuries because so many tailgating incidents involve being hit from behind. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck suddenly move forward and then back again in a jerking motion, straining and stressing the surrounding muscles. Severe cases of whiplash can lead to spinal cord injuries.
Whiplash can also cause the brain to hit the skull at a rapid speed, essentially bruising the brain and leading to a concussion. Concussed individuals can experience everything from short-term headaches to lifelong problems with memory loss. A person with a record of prior concussions can be particularly susceptible to experiencing significant medical issues. Even a modest fender bender can wind up requiring long-term medical treatment for someone with a pre-existing condition exacerbated by the collision event.
Ways to Avoid Tailgating and Tailgaters
The best way to avoid tailgating is to stay several car lengths back from the vehicle directly moving in front. The more length between cars, the easier it will be to put on the brakes if needed.
What happens if a motorist is being tailgated by another vehicle? The driver has a few choices. Speeding up may be one, but only if the motorist is operating under the posted speed limit. Another can be to slow down as a reminder to the car in back to stop tailgating, although this can sometimes backfire and cause the tailgater to act more aggressively. A final answer to stopping a tailgater may simply be to leave the roadway safely by turning or taking an exit. While this can be annoying, it is far less dangerous than continuing to drive with a tailgater behind.
How New Jersey Law Views Tailgating
In New Jersey, tailgating is essentially aggressive driving. If charged criminally with this kind of violation, drivers may be fined up to $200 per incident and could even face jail depending the details of the incident. Motorists convicted of tailgating can receive as many as five points on their driving record. If the driver already has points accrued, a tailgating conviction can lead to a license suspension. Auto insurance carriers often boost the premium rates for drivers with a tailgating or other significant traffic violation on their records.
Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at D’Amato Law Firm Work Diligently to Get Tailgating Victims the Compensation They Deserve
Did a tailgater hit your vehicle in New Jersey? If you or a loved one suffered serious injuries, you may be able to recover significant compensation. Talk to an Atlantic City car accident lawyer at the D’Amato Law Firm to learn your legal rights. For a free initial consultation, call us at 609-926-3300 or contact us online. Located in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we serve clients in Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, Woodbury, and South Jersey.