Tailgating: a leading cause of car accidents

If you had to guess the top-three common causes of car accidents in Nebraska, would you guess tailgating? You should. Drivers maintaining inadequate following distances isn’t just irritating—it causes traffic accidents. Following too closely ranked higher than speeding, inattention and cell phone use as causes of Nebraska car accidents in 2017. Only failing to yield right of way was a greater contributor to accidents in our state.

The Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles provides suggestions for keeping an appropriate following distance.

  • Give enough space Maintain a following distance that allows for other vehicles to safely pass between you and the lead vehicle or for you to stop if needed.
  • Use the three-second rule. No, this doesn’t apply to dropping your sandwich on the floor. The three-second rule is when you time how long it takes you to pass the same marker in the road that the vehicle ahead of you did. If it takes you less than three seconds to reach that marker, you should slow down.
  • Adapt your following distance to the conditions. If the roads are wet, icy or otherwise, your following distance should still allow you to safely come to a stop in an emergency. Only drive as fast as the conditions allow.

Tailgating can earn you a ticket

It may come as no surprise that tailgating can lead to a careless, reckless or negligent driving violation. These violations can affect your license. The state of Nebraska can suspend your license with 12 points against it over a two-year period. A reckless driving violation counts as five points, careless driving as four points and negligent driving as three points. Repeatedly accruing these violations due to tailgating can cost you your license.

We all follow the vehicle ahead of us too closely from time-to-time. Yet, tailgating has the potential to be dangerous and expensive. Whether you’re in a hurry or finding it difficult to focus on the road, making sure you’re maintaining a safe following distance keeps the roads safer.

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