Matthew Minner | March 3, 2021 | Car Accident
Tailgating is considered aggressive driving. It occurs when a vehicle follows another vehicle too close for safety. If the vehicle in front has to make a sudden stop, the tailgater may not have time to stop to avoid a rear-end crash. Safe drivers understand they need to leave room to stop in case something happens.
Tailgating Accidents Are Common in Kentucky
Tailgating is a common factor in many rear-end accidents.
It is estimated that about one-third of car accidents are rear-end accidents. There were over 2.17 million rear-end crashes during 2018, which resulted in 2,439 fatal accidents and 594,000 injury accidents.
In Kentucky during 2018, there were 8,742 crashes involving a driver who was following too close.
Why Do Tailgating Accidents Happen?
Most of the tailgating accidents are caused by driver negligence or human error. Following too closely reduces the time a driver has to stop before crashing into the rear of the vehicle the driver is following.
The reasons why a driver tailgates behind another vehicle include:
- Reckless driving or aggressive driving
- Distracted driving
- Congested traffic conditions
- Drowsy driving
- Road rage
- Running late or being impatient
- Driving under the influence
- Making improper lane changes
Unfortunately, many motorists are unaware of the dangers of tailgating. They have a false sense of security that they will be able to avoid rear-ending the car in front of them. Sadly, many drivers are mistaken.
Rear-End Accidents Can Cause Traumatic Injuries
Rear-end crashes are sometimes referred to as “fender benders” because the crash can bend the rear and front fenders on the vehicles. The term “fender bender” downplays the severity of these types of car crashes.
Accident victims can sustain severe injuries in a tailgating accident. Chain reaction tailgating crashes can cause severe injuries to the occupants of the vehicles in the center of the crash.
Injuries that you could sustain in a tailgating accident include:
- Cervical herniated discs, whiplash, and other neck injuries
- Back injuries and spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain damage
- Soft tissue injuries
- Chest injuries
- Seat belt syndrome
- Fractures and broken bones
If you are involved in a tailgating accident, it is best to see a doctor as soon as possible. You need to have medical treatment for your injuries, but you also need to document your injuries for a personal injury claim.
If you wait too long to see a doctor, the other driver’s insurance company may say that the accident did not cause your injuries. Seeking prompt medical care can avoid that issue.
Seeking Compensation for a Tailgating Crash
You could be entitled to compensation for your damages caused by a rear-end collision.
Filing a personal injury claim may result in compensation for your:
- Economic losses, including medical bills, travel expenses, property damage, loss of income, and cost of personal care
- Pain and suffering damages, including physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish
- Loss of quality of life or enjoyment of life
- Permanent impairments, scarring, and disabilities
The value of your damages depends on the facts of your case. A personal injury lawyer can review your case and give you more detailed information about how much you could receive for a tailgating accident claim.
In many cases, the driver in the rear vehicle is liable for the damages incurred by the driver in the front vehicle.
However, the insurance company may argue that you were partially to blame for the cause of the crash. Under Kentucky’s pure comparative fault laws, your compensation for the accident could be reduced by the percentage of fault you have for causing the crash.
Insurance companies try to shift blame to the accident victim to save money. If you are being blamed for causing an accident, contact a car accident attorney immediately for help. Your compensation could be significantly reduced if the insurance company is successful.
How Can You Avoid a Tailgating Crash?
Since most tailgating accidents are preventable, you can take certain steps to avoid them. You cannot control what other drivers do when they are on the road.
However, you can reduce your risk of a tailgating accident when you do the following:
- Slow down and allow extra distance between vehicles during hazardous driving conditions and poor weather conditions
- Leave early enough to allow for delays
- Never drive when you are drowsy or intoxicated
- Drive the speed limit
- Do not drive while you are angry
- Avoid reckless driving behaviors
- Eliminate distractions so you can focus on the road ahead
- If a driver is tailgating your vehicle, allow the tailgater to pass instead of doing a brake check
It is never worth it to follow another vehicle too closely. The risk of a tailgating accident is too great. You do not want to be the person who causes another person injury or causes a wrongful death because you were in a hurry.