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Why do people tailgate?

On Behalf of | Aug 12, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

When you go through driver’s training, they teach you about the three-second rule. Under this rule, you should always leave three seconds between each vehicle on the road. This is considered a safe following distance and anything closer is considered tailgating.

But you’ve probably noticed that a lot of people drive far too close for comfort. Sometimes it feels like everyone is tailgating, almost all the time, and they’re all driving massive pickup trucks and SUVs. It can be very unnerving and you probably wish that it wouldn’t happen. What are some of the reasons that they do it?

They’re getting ready to pass

Some people will temporarily tailgate you if they’re getting ready to make a passing maneuver on a two-lane road. They may know that they’re not going to have that much space to pass before oncoming traffic arrives, so they’re just trying to reduce the distance they have to travel. This is very common with vehicles that are underpowered, such as a minivan, because the driver knows that it will take time to get up to speed and make the pass.

It’s road rage

In the worst situations, tailgating is one expression of road rage. The person may be angry that you’re driving at or even below the speed limit. They may feel like you cut them off or made some other driving mistake that they didn’t appreciate. It’s a good idea to let this tailgater pass as soon as you can. If you have no other choice, try to find a safe place where you can pull off to the side of the road, lock your doors, and let them go by.

They’re just oblivious to it

Finally, you do have people who don’t even know that they’re tailgating. If you pulled them over and asked them if they were doing anything wrong, they would be oblivious. These drivers are perhaps not as dangerous as road rage drivers, but they still make accidents more likely. Although this can happen for anyone, it is perhaps most common with young drivers who simply have not yet learned how to drive safely and don’t have enough experience.

Get injured in an accident with a driver who’s tailgating, then you may need to seek financial compensation.