Any motorist who has been driving for more than a few months has almost certainly both engaged in tailgating and has been affected by the tailgating behavior of others. Under the best of circumstances, a driver will only tailgate another for a few seconds unintentionally when an unexpected slowdown occurs. But sometimes, drivers either intentionally or unintentionally tailgate one another for miles.
For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, tailgating is essentially the act of following another vehicle far too closely for either vehicle to be able to stop safely in the event of either an ordinary or urgent need to stop quickly. Generally, it is advised that vehicles travel with a few car-lengths between them in order to avoid the safety issues associated with tailgating. However, there are times where either intentional or unintentional tailgating results in accidents.
Sometimes the fault for a tailgating accident can clearly be attributed to one party or the other. Oftentimes however, there are a number of circumstances that could contribute to a tailgating accident. For example, if bad weather causes a pile-up, the car driving in front of the other could be forced to brake more quickly than usual. The car behind the first could then skid on ice and rear-end the first car even though he or she may have been able to stop safely under different road and weather conditions.
In general, drivers owe each other the duty of driving safely. If one or both drivers breaches that duty in obvious ways, fault may land squarely on the shoulders of one or both parties in part. However, tailgating accidents do occur that are nobody’s fault.
Each accident situation is unique. If you have been involved in a tailgating accident, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney. There is no harm in obtaining more information and you may even discover that you have the right to request compensation from the other driver, either/both insurance companies involved and even the state.