Trusted And Experienced
Maryland Client Advocates Since 1950

What is tailgating, and how can drivers avoid it?

In today’s fast-paced world, where everyone seems to be rushing, you’ve likely encountered a situation where a vehicle closely follows yours, often at an unsafe distance. 

This behavior is known as tailgating, which can be annoying and dangerous. Here’s why tailgating is so hazardous and what you can do to stay safe on the road.

What is tailgating?

Tailgating, in simple terms, refers to the act of driving too closely to the vehicle in front of you. This behavior is characterized by the lack of a safe stopping distance between two vehicles. While some drivers may engage in tailgating unintentionally due to distractions or misjudgment, others do it deliberately, either out of impatience or aggression.

When a driver tailgates another vehicle, they significantly reduce their reaction time in case of an unexpected event, such as sudden braking by the lead vehicle or an obstacle in the road. This minimal reaction time can lead to devastating accidents.

What’s worse is that both the tailgater and the driver in front can experience increased stress and aggression. This emotional state can lead to impulsive and dangerous behavior, including aggressive maneuvers, road rage incidents and accidents.

How to stay safe and avoid tailgating

Drivers should always maintain a safe following distance, measured in seconds rather than feet. A common guideline is the three-second rule: Choose a fixed point on the road, like a sign or a tree, and try to ensure at least three seconds of space between your vehicle and the one in front.

Drivers can also practice defensive driving by staying aware of their surroundings, anticipating potential hazards and keeping a safe escape route in mind. Defensive driving can help drivers react more effectively to tailgaters and other aggressive road users.

Tailgating is a dangerous driving behavior that should be avoided for the safety of everyone on the road. Understanding the risks can help tailgating-related accident victims to take proactive steps to pursue the compensation they deserve.