Tailgating accidents on the road are caused when a car travels too closely to the vehicle in front of it. Failure to keep a safe distance between cars can lead to rear-end accidents that result in serious and often life-threatening injuries. The higher the speed a vehicle travels, the longer the distance is required to allow enough time to stop or swerve to avoid a collision.
Many people assume that liability in a tailgating accident automatically lies with the vehicle behind the one that was hit. Negligence or reckless driving by the lead car, or uncontrollable factors, such as icy roadways or broken taillights, can be mitigating factors, even if you were indeed tailgating.
Tailgating accidents are one of the most preventable types of car accidents, yet they account for one-third of all motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports approximately 2,000 deaths and over 900,000 injuries resulting from tailgating accidents each year. Injuries are often catastrophic and can include:
- Brain injuries: The force of a rear-end collision can cause a sudden thrust forward, then another thrust backward. The brain can hit the inside of the skull with enough force to cause permanent cognitive impairment.
- Whiplash: Whiplash is an injury to the neck caused by the sudden front, back, or sideways movement of the head. Common complications include neck pain, stiffness, impaired movement, and chronic headaches.
- Spinal injuries: Both drivers in a tailgating accident are vulnerable to spinal injuries, resulting in permanent nerve damage, mobility issues, and paralysis.
- Shoulder, arm, and wrist injuries: A driver must extend their arms in front of them and grasp the steering wheel. The sudden impact from a tailgating accident can cause broken bones, torn muscles, ligaments, and tendons, as well as shoulder injuries that often require surgery and long recovery periods.
- Lower back and leg injuries: High speed rear-end collisions resulting from tailgating accidents commonly cause lower back and leg injuries. Broken bones, particularly in the thigh and foot/ankle areas, and injuries to the hip and lower back regions can result in lifelong pain and mobility issues.
- Severe cuts and lacerations: Tailgating injuries can include severe cuts and lacerations that require surgery with long recovery periods and in some cases, permanent disfigurement.
- Burn injuries: Rear-end collisions can cause fires and explosions from fuel ignition. Drivers and passengers can be trapped in a fiery inferno that can lead to devastating burn injuries and death.
While the driver that was tailgating may be held liable for injuries in a tailgating accident, it still may be possible for the liable driver to recover compensation for their injuries and damages. Consulting with an experienced car accident lawyer will ensure that all victims claim the compensation they are entitled to receive.
Preventing Tailgating Accidents
Tailgating accidents are one of the most preventable types of car accidents. There are many ways to avoid this type of car accident
- Always maintain a safe driving distance from the car in front of you. Use the three second rule to ensure you are leaving enough time to stop. Pick a marker on the road and count three seconds from the time the car in front of you reaches the marker and the time it takes you to reach the same marker.
- Reduce your speed while driving in inclement weather.
- Leave ample time to get to your destination. Being rushed and impatient are leading causes of tailgating.
- Pass a vehicle that is driving too slowly instead of driving too close to them.
- If you are being tailgated, find a way to allow the driver to pass you by moving over to the next lane, taking an exit, or pulling over to allow them to get ahead of you.
- Leave ample space between you and the car in front of you to avoid a collision if you are rear-ended by a tailgater.
- Drive in the right-hand lane of a highway so that cars can pass.
If you are involved in a tailgating accident, even if you are at-fault, always consult with an experienced car accident lawyer to protect your legal rights to compensation.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Represent Victims of Tailgating Accidents
If you were injured in a tailgating car accident, contact the Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC today. We will fight to obtain the compensation you rightfully deserve for your injuries. Call us at 302-304-8047 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Haddonfield, New Jersey; and Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.