.k Does Tailgating Frequently Cause Collisions? | Aggressive Driving
Visit our Truck Site

Does Tailgating Frequently Cause Collisions?

February 16, 2021

Tailgating is one of the leading causes of motor vehicle accidents in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that rear-end accidents account for 20 percent of all collisions in the U.S. Tailgating wrecks cause approximately one million injuries and 2,000 deaths every year. These statistics are especially disheartening, considering tailgating accidents are preventable.

Is Tailgating a Form of Aggressive Driving?

Driving too closely to another vehicle is a form of aggressive driving. Since tailgating reduces the time and space the following vehicle has to stop, it increases the likelihood of a car accident and serious injuries. On a busy highway that is full of traffic, the initial tailgating collision can cause a chain reaction event, leading to multi-vehicle accidents and physical and mental injuries.

Tailgating is considered aggressive driving because it is meant to intimidate the person driving in front into either speeding up or moving over. Most drivers have experienced being tailgated at some point. While male motorists between 19 to 39 years old are statistically more likely to drive recklessly, nearly 80 percent of drivers admit to previously engaging in some type of aggressive driving, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA).

What are the Penalties for Tailgating in Virginia?

In Virginia, laws exist to deter and penalize aggressive drivers. Under the law, an individual must demonstrate an intent to intimidate, harass, obstruct, or injure another person to meet the legal threshold of aggressive driving. The aggressive behavior must also violate certain traffic laws. Virginia has a long list of actions that are considered aggressive, including tailgating.

Typically, aggressive driving is considered a Class 2 misdemeanor in Virginia, bringing possible penalties that include fines up to $1,000 and up to 180 days in jail. If a tailgater intended to injure another person through aggressive driving, fines and jail time can increase significantly.

What Should I Do if a Driver is Following Me too Closely?

Remember these tips to deter a tailgating driver and to prevent a serious collision:

Switch Lanes: The easiest way to get away from a tailgating driver is to move out of the lane. It is natural to feel panicked, but try to stay calm, and look to make sure it is safe and clear before switching lanes.

Maintain Speed: Stick to the speed limit at all times. Some drivers play games with tailgaters, speeding up when they try to pass and overtake them. Aggressive driving as retaliation is never a good idea. Instead, maintain a consistent speed.

Avoid Brake Checking: As tempting as it may be to want to teach a tailgating driver a lesson and force them to slow down, it is never wise to slam on the brakes. Pumping the brakes can lead to a serious rear-end collision.

Take a Break: An encounter with an overly aggressive driver can be traumatic. Anyone feeling stressed or anxious should pull over when it is safe, and take a few minutes to regroup.

Never Engage Angry Drivers: It is important to never engage an aggressive or angry driver. Do no yell, beep the horn, or flash lights at another driver. Do not even make eye contact with an irate driver.

Follow the steps above to get away from a tailgating driver and deescalate a risky situation. If it is possible, ask a passenger to take down their license plate number or capture a photograph of the vehicle, and report them to local police.

Although these tips are meant to help safe drivers handle tailgaters, fault lies entirely with the aggressive driver. In the event of a collision, anyone injured in a rear-end crash caused by tailgating should pursue justice and compensation to the fullest extent of the law.

How can I Stay Calm While Driving?

Driving can be taxing, especially in bad weather or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Everyone must do their part to keep the roads safe for all motorists. It is important to recognize the signs of stress and take immediate steps to calm down and correct it. The following is a few ways to remain calm while driving.

Follow at a Safe Distance

Sometimes, the first impulse for drivers in a hurry is to speed up and tailgate the car ahead, but this behavior is dangerous. A safe following distance allows one to stop in time to prevent a collision.

In clear weather, use the two-second rule to gauge a safe following distance. To figure determine how much space that is, as the car ahead passes a sign or tree, count two seconds before passing the same landmark. On rainy days, allow four seconds of following distance. When it is snowing or the roads are covered in ice, stay 10 seconds away from the car ahead.

Take a Few Deep Breaths

Sometimes, a driver needs to do breathing techniques to de-stress:

  • Sit comfortable with eyes on the road ahead. Make a conscious effort to relax the jaw, arms, and shoulders.
  • Breathe in deeply through the nose all the way into the abdomen.
  • Keeping the jaw and lips relaxed, exhale slowly through the mouth.

Repeat these steps for several minutes until one feels calm again.

What Should I Do After a Car Accident?

Even the most cautious drivers are impacted by others who take risks by tailgating. Beyond tickets and fines for aggressive drivers, injured individuals can take legal action to pursue financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and other related losses.

Rear-end collisions are complex and require skilled legal representation to prove how and why they occur and who is at fault. The best resource for quality legal guidance is a car accident lawyer with a proven track record of success handling personal injury cases. The lawyer’s job is to review the details of the accident, explain all of the legal remedies available, and build a strong claim for damages. A lawyer handles the legal details so an injured client can focus on recovery.

Virginia Beach Car Accident Lawyers Fight for the Rights of Clients Injured by Aggressive Drivers

If you were hurt in an accident that was caused by an aggressive driver, a Virginia Beach car accident lawyer can help you with your case. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we know how devasting tailgating car wrecks can be, and we can help you recover compensation for your serious car accident injuries. Call us at 757-352-2237 or complete our online form for a free consultation today. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we proudly assist car accident victims throughout Chesapeake, Eastern Shore, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, Virginia, as well as North Carolina and nationwide.

Areas We Serve

Our law firm proudly serves clients injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina on personal injury claims, including cases with traumatic brain injury, spinal and neck injury, wrongful death, and more serious injuries. As Virginia Beach personal injury attorneys with many years experience, our team of lawyers will be ready to fight for you. If you were injured on the job, our Virginia Beach Workers Compensation lawyers are ready to serve you.

Call 757-352-2237 or fill out the online contact form for a free consultation about your personal injury, workers compensation, or other attorney services. Our firm adopts a team approach to every case, so while one primary lawyer will be assigned to your case, you have the benefit of an experienced team of lawyers, all working on your side. We are located in Virginia Beach, VA, and serve clients who were injured anywhere in Virginia or North Carolina.

301 Bendix Road, Suite 460
Virginia Beach VA 23452
Ph: 757-352-2237 | Fax: 757-994-8910