CAUSES OF CAR ACCIDENTS IN VIRGINIA: TAILGATING
Tailgating is when another vehicle follows too closely behind you. This is an extremely dangerous driving behavior, and is even more dangerous when you are at highway speeds. A driver who is immediately behind you cannot see in front of you, and so that driver cannot see what you see. They cannot see a deer darting out into the road or another car changing lanes, and thus cannot be ready when you have to slam on the brakes. This often causes a rear end collision, suddenly and without warning. The less distance that the car behind you has from your bumper, the more likely it is that they will not be able to stop in time.
Rear end collisions from tailgating form one of the biggest statistical reasons that car accidents happen. According to the National Insurance Institute, between one and a half to two million accidents a year are caused by rear end collisions!
When is close too close?
There are many competing theories on how far you should have between cars when driving. The Department of Motor Vehicles in Virginia says you should have at least two seconds of headway between cars. Anything shorter than that is tailgating. As it is difficult to correlate seconds into measureable distance, it is recommended that you have at least one to two car lengths between cars. Of course, we all know that most drivers drive much closer than that!
The distance between cars is not an ironclad rule, however, as a larger and fully loaded vehicle needs more time to stop in the event of an emergency. The one to two car-length recommendation is only for an average size sedan. If you are driving a U-haul, then you will need three to four car lengths, and a tractor trailer, hauling 80,000 lb, will often need over 5 car lengths to stop.
What to do if you have been hurt in a Tailgating Accident in Virginia
If you have been struck from the rear by a driver who is tailgating, then you may be entitled to compensation for their injuries that you sustained. Blaszkow Legal offers free consultations for all car accidents and personal injury matters throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as Maryland in DC. We can help you determine who is liable for the accident, and what damages you may be entitled to claim.
Negligent drivers should be held accountable, and we are ready to fight to get you all of the compensation that you deserve. Insurance companies are working hard to protect their stockholders and their bottom line. They will do everything they can to minimize or outright deny your claim, even in rear end accidents! It is important to have an established Virginia Personal Injury Law Firm on your side, because we know all of the tricks that the insurance companies will play. We know how to investigate a case, so we can knock the legs out of the arguments that they are likely to make.
Get Justice with Joe, and call Blaszkow Legal at 703-879-5910 for a free consultation today.
Virginia law and tailgating
Virginia Code 46.2 - 816 specifically makes it a violation of the law to follow too closely:
The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another motor vehicle, trailer, or semi-trailer more closely than is reasonable
and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic on, and conditions of, the highway at that time.
Drivers who follow too closely will often be issued a citation if they cause an accident. These fines will usually range between $81 to $250 on a first offense, and can also be accompanied by up to 4 demerit points on the at fault party's driver's license.
Why do people tailgate?
As we know, tailgating is extremely common and it's hard to drive for more than a few minutes on any of Virginia's roadways without seeing someone doing it. There are many reasons drivers engage in this dangerous and Reckless behavior:
Selfish driving (trying to stop others from merging)
Bad weather conditions
Most people who tailgate do it because they have an inflated sense of their own abilities, and they believe that they will be able to stop in time in the event of an accident. Statistics show us however, that this is not true. Most people will not be able to stop in time, and this will cause serious accidents!