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Tailgating: Fun for Football, Dangerous for Driving

Sunday’s Super Bowl brought a close to football season and the fun of weekend tailgating. When you are on the road, be aware of the not so fun type of tailgating – drivers that are following too closely to the car in front of them.

Tailgating is a type of aggressive driving and the number one cause of rear-end collisions. These types of accidents can cause serious and traumatic injuries, particularly to the neck, head, and brain. The most common is whiplash, the injury to the soft tissue of the neck that can lead to long-term health issues, such as headaches, neck pain, stiffness, back pain, shoulder pain, and other debilitating symptoms.

If you find yourself in the path of a tailgater, the following tips will help keep you and other drivers safe:

STAY CALM. Do not let the tailgater intimidate or upset you. Keep your emotions in check so that you do not do something that may make the situation worse, such as slamming on your brakes.

SWITCH LANES. Drivers typically tailgate because they are in a hurry or are impatient. If you can do so safely, switch lanes to the let the tailgater pass. Be sure to check carefully to make sure the tailgater does not switch lanes at the same time to pass you.

STAY RIGHT. Drive in the right lane, using the left lane only to pass. This will allow impatient drivers to go around you.

PULL OVER. Pull off the road and let the tailgater pass you.

If you are guilty of tailgating, keep in mind that, in most rear-end collisions, the tailgater is almost always liable for causing the accident. This is because a driver traveling a safe distance from the vehicle in front should have plenty of time to stop, even if the other driver does so suddenly. To avoid tailgating, follow these simple rules:

SLOW DOWN. You are not going to get anywhere faster by tailgating. And causing an accident is sure to ruin your day much more than being a little late.

KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE. Rule of thumb is to keep a four second distance behind the lead vehicle. To gauge, pick a stationary object, such as a street sign or fire hydrant, and count the seconds between the time the rear bumper of the car in front passes to when your front bumper reaches the same point. Certain conditions, such as heavy traffic and bad weather, may call for even greater distance between vehicles. Additionally, heavy vehicles or those that are towing, should consider the amount of time it will take to stop should the lead vehicle do so expectantly.

If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of a tailgater, you may be entitled to compensation, including medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering. Contact Fite Law Group for a free consultation at (602) 368-1869.