When a car does not keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of it, the driver is tailgating. This behavior is dangerous. If the car in front stops suddenly, the tailgating driver has very little time to hit the brakes and avoid rear-ending it. It is the primary cause of these accidents. Because these collisions usually occur when the vehicles are going at a higher rate of speed, they are often serious or fatal.

Tailgating is not just dangerous but also illegal. A car accident lawyer for Rockland and Bergen counties at Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman P.C. can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. We protect your rights while holding those responsible for the crash liable.

Tailgating Causes

Tailgating often results from driver aggression. In fact, it is frequently an act of road rage. While it can happen anywhere, it is more common on interstates and other heavily traveled roadways. Also, distracted driving is one of the major causes of all car accidents, and that includes tailgating. A motorist paying attention to their cellphone rather than the road may not realize they are coming up right behind a car until it is too late.

Moreover, novice drivers may not yet have developed an eye for when they are following too closely. The three-second rule serves as a guideline when traveling behind another vehicle. Drivers should keep at least three seconds of moving distance behind the car in front of them. That is considered the safe distance for avoiding sudden rear-end crashes.

Tailgating Accidents

Besides the tailgating car plowing into the rear of the vehicle it follows, some drivers deliberately try to keep another car from getting in between them and the car in front. Because that merging third vehicle cannot get into the lane, its driver may not have the ability to remove the car from a dangerous position.

The size of the vehicles involved impact the severity of the accident. The driver of a small car tailgating a big rig could find their automobile sliding under the tractor-trailer should it make a sudden stop.

Proving Tailgating

Proving that the at-fault driver was tailgating when the accident happened is not always easy. A car accident lawyer seeks out various types of evidence to prove the other driver was tailgating. This may include:

  • Surveillance video, if available
  • Eyewitness accounts
  • Police reports
  • Vehicle data – late-model vehicles store “black box” data about driver conduct behind the wheel
  • Skid marks

Further, an accident reconstructionist can estimate how fast the vehicles were traveling based on the damage. This information can show how closely the rear vehicle was following when the crash occurred.  

However, tailgating crashes also happen because the driver in the front vehicle deliberately slams on the brakes. This usually happens because they are annoyed at the tailgating motorist, but it can make them liable for the accident. If the driver in front cuts off the other motorist, they may also prove liable.

Tailgating Accident Injuries

Tailgating accident injuries may result in long-term or permanent disability. Such injuries include:

  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Disfigurement
  • Lacerations
  • Spinal cord damage
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Whiplash

Most tailgating accident claims are settled. Car accident attorneys know a reasonable settlement amount based on the type of injuries their client suffered and their prognosis. If an insurance company does not offer this, your lawyer will pursue the matter in court.

If the person succumbs to their injuries, their family may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Roughly one-quarter of all fatal car accidents are due to rear-end collisions, and tailgating is a significant factor.

Contact a New York and New Jersey Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one were the victims of an accident caused by tailgating in Rockland County, New York, or Bergen County, New Jersey, you need our team of car accident lawyers for Rockland and Bergen counties. Submit our online form or call or text 24/7 to schedule a free consultation. We will discuss your options after evaluating your accident. We on a contingency basis, so you pay no fee unless you receive compensation.