We are all human beings who do dumb things. As such, we all need reminders not to do those dumb things. A case in point is tailgating. Tailgating is one of the worst things a driver can do that endangers him/herself and others. And yet, just look around and see how many drivers tailgate. It can be staggering at times.
Just how dangerous is tailgating? Dangerous enough that it could result in an accident that seriously injures or kills. Though you’ve heard it a million times, always maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. And worsened weather only increases that distance.
Here are four very good reasons to avoid tailgating at all costs:
1. You Can’t See
When tailgating, it is not possible for you to have a clear view of the road ahead. It doesn’t matter whether you are driving a sedan behind a large SUV or an 18 wheeler tailgating a minivan. The vehicle in front of you reduces your field of vision. That vehicle in front of you may swerve at the last minute to avoid something in the road, something you will not see until it’s too late. By the way, the practice of tailgating a tractor-trailer is especially dangerous. You can’t see anything but the back of the trailer mile after mile.
2. You Can’t Stop
Tailgating tends to take place on interstates and other divided highways where some drivers do not have the patience to work with traffic. This makes tailgating especially dangerous because of the extra time it takes to stop at high speeds. Simply put, tailgaters do not have enough time or distance to stop should traffic ahead slow down or stop for some reason. If you cannot stop, a rear-end accident will be in your future.
3. It’s Against the Law
Truck drivers and other professionals are acutely aware of the fact that tailgating is against the law. Non-professionals may not know that. Still, ignorance is no excuse when the law is broken. If you get caught tailgating, you are likely going to get a ticket at a minimum. Depending on the jurisdiction, the penalties might be more severe. You might even have to take an expensive driver safety course if you’re ticketed for reckless driving.
4. It’s Bad for Your Insurance
In the arena of insurance and traffic accidents, rear-end crashes are always deemed the fault of the driver behind. That means that the tailgating driver who rear-ends the vehicle ahead will nearly always be the one at fault. And you know what that means for insurance rates: they go through the roof. You will find out really quickly how much insurance companies hate tailgating.
Get Where You Are Going Safely
One of the most disturbing aspects of tailgating is the fact that it doesn’t really help. In the grand scheme of things, tailgating is not going to get you to your destination measurably faster than if you set back a little and just went with traffic.
Here’s the reality: your tailgating does not speed up the traffic ahead. All it does is make you impatient and motivate you to do other risky things that could ultimately lead to an accident. Don’t do it. If you are a professional driver – especially if you drive trucks – you have an added responsibility to avoid tailgating if, for no other reason, than the fact that you know better.