Did you know tailgaters are doubling your travel time on California’s roads? That’s right! A study from MIT found that tailgating is the root cause behind an enormous number of traffic jams and crashes that slow down our roads.
MIT’s Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab used artificial intelligence and computer simulations to find something surprising: If every car on the road would simply maintain a safe and fixed distance from the car in front of it, travel times would be cut in half.
But that’s not likely to happen anytime soon. Tailgating accidents are a persistent problem in California and across the nation. When someone has a habit of traveling too closely behind other cars, a rear-end crash is always a risk.
Why is Tailgating So Dangerous?
Tailgating is dangerous driving behavior because it reduces the amount of reaction time you have before slamming into other cars from behind. California law requires three full seconds of stopping time and defines tailgating as traveling more closely “than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of the roadway.”
The California Driver Handbook says this rule means you need to leave one car length per 10 mph of travel speed. When you’re traveling 30 mph, leave 3 car lengths. At 60 mph, you need 6 car lengths of space between you and the car ahead of you.
Tailgating might not seem like such a big deal, but think of it this way: You can’t control what happens after you rear-end someone. You could hurt a human being and damage their car. Or in the worst-case scenario, you could set off a catastrophic chain reaction crash that severely injures or kills multiple people.
Assigning Fault in a Tailgating Accident
It might seem like the rear driver in a tailgating accident is always automatically at fault, but this isn’t the case. An investigation into your accident might reveal details that show the front driver or even a third party was to blame.
When you hire a car accident attorney, they’ll look at your accident from various perspectives and ask questions to reveal what really happened. Here are some important factors to consider:
- Was anyone tailgating or braking suddenly?
- Did the front vehicle suddenly pull out in front of the rear vehicle?
- Were either of the cars reversing at the time of the crash?
- Is there evidence of road rage or aggressive driving?
- Was someone drunk, drugged, or distracted?
- Does the crash involve texting and driving?
- Did either of the vehicles have an equipment malfunction?
- How was the weather at the time of the crash?
- Did construction or road debris play a role?
As you can see, numerous factors could impact the outcome of your case. If you were in the rear vehicle in the accident, it will be important for you to seek excellent legal representation to ensure you get a chance to tell your side of the story.
Taking Action After a Tailgating Crash
An experienced tailgating accident lawyer knows how to use California’s comparative fault rule to your best benefit. This rule means even if you contribute to a crash you can sue for compensation. Your award is simply reduced by your percentage of the blame.
As an example, consider a crash where you were following too closely behind another driver, but they were also tailgating the car in front of them while texting and driving. A judge or jury might decide you were 30% to blame, meaning you’d still collect the other $70,000 of a $100,000 award.
If you’re ever in a tailgating accident, don’t give up. We’re here to listen to your story and help you get the compensation you deserve. We’ll offer you a free initial consultation so you can understand your options after a California tailgating crash.
We Handle Your Tailgating Accident Claim So You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including tailgating accidents. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.