Tailgating is the act of driving behind another vehicle too close. There is a safe recommended following distance which is determined by speed and weather conditions, usually known as the two-second rule.
The three-second rule means that you should have a distance of no less than three-seconds between you and the vehicle in front of you. If you’re towing a trailer, driving in wet, icy, or snowy conditions, or operating a heavy vehicle, you should increase this to five-seconds.
However, the three-second rule, while a good guideline, is the bare minimum gap you should maintain between you and the vehicle in front of you.
In a perfect world, it takes at least 0.5 seconds to react to anything, and that’s when you know something is about to happen! In most circumstances, your reaction time will be around one second. Even some of the best performance cars in the world take longer than three-seconds to come to a stop.
The Problems Associated with Tailgating
Tailgating and Your Vision
Driving requires you to be able to see what’s happening in front of you and anticipate things before they happen. The further you can see in front of you, the more prepared to stop or take evasive action you will be. If you’re tailgating the vehicle in front of you, your vision will be impaired, negatively impacting your reaction time.
Aggression and Road Rage from Tailgating
Many drivers perceive tailgating as aggressive and intimidating. It’s a quick way to turn a regular drive or journey into a road rage incident. Often, when someone feels that they’re being tailgated, they’ll either drive slower or tap their brakes, known as brake-checking, which can cause an accident and lead to road rage.
Fuel Economy and Tailgating
It’s a common misconception that driving close behind the vehicle in front, especially if it’s bigger, gives you better fuel economy. To see any saving in fuel, you would need to be consistently no further than 10-20 feet behind a truck in front of you. If that truck braked suddenly, there is no possible way for you to avoid running into the back of them at this distance.
Some of the Reasons Why Drivers Tailgate Other Vehicles!
- Frustration at the vehicle’s speed in front of them and trying to intimidate them into driving faster.
- Moving closer in anticipation of overtaking the vehicle in front of them.
- Attempting to draft or slipstream behind the vehicle in front of them to save fuel.
- Trying to block other cars from merging in front of them.
When You Are In An Accident
There you go, all the reasons why tailgating is so dangerous and should be avoided. Maintaining a safe following distance between 3 and 5 seconds is the best way to avoid running into the back of the vehicle in front of you. If you’ve had an accident because of tailgating and need a tow truck, Mountain Recovery is here to help!
If you have been involved in any automotive accident in Eagle County or Summit County, Colorado, or you’ve broken down, Mountain Recovery is only a phone call away at 970-476-1124. We operate 24/7, 365 days a year, to keep you moving and help get your vehicle back on the road.