Is it a car crash or a fender bender? Rear-end accidents are often referred to as fender benders. However, a rear-end crash is not always a minor car accident.
Tailgating is one of the common causes of rear-end collisions. Sometimes, a driver follows another vehicle too closely for conditions (tailgating) and cannot stop in time to avoid colliding with your rear bumper. The driver may have also been speeding at the time of the accident.
The collision causes your vehicle to slam into the car in front of you. Now you have a multi-vehicle accident, which increases the complexity of the car accident case. In another scenario, the force of the rear-end collision may push your vehicle into an intersection, causing a horrific intersection car accident.
Sadly, the car accident could have been avoided had the other driver not been tailgating.
What is Tailgating?
Tailgating means following the vehicle in front of your vehicle too closely. It is aggressive driving behavior that can cause traffic accidents.
According to Florida traffic laws, the driver of a vehicle should not follow another vehicle more closely than is prudent and reasonable. Unfortunately, many motorists fail to follow this traffic rule—rear-end accidents are one of the most common types of car crashes in the United States.
In 2019, there were over 2.19 million rear-end accidents in the United States. Rear-end collisions accounted for 32.5 percent of the total traffic accidents that year. Crashes involving rear-end collisions resulted in 2,346 deaths and 595,000 injuries that year.
Why Do Drivers Tailgate Other Drivers?
Tailgating is often the result of road rage and aggressive driving.
Reasons why a driver may tailgate another vehicle include:
- Being in a rush to get somewhere
- Distracted driving
- Making improper lane changes
- Driving under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Being impatient
- Frustration over congested traffic conditions
Tailgating is dangerous because drivers believe they will be able to stop in time to avoid a collision. Sadly, this false sense of security leads to deadly and catastrophic car crashes.
Common Injuries Caused by Tailgating Accidents
Rear-end accidents can cause a variety of injuries—even when the vehicles are traveling at slow speeds. In addition, tailgating can cause chain reaction rear-end crashes that result in traumatic injuries.
Common injuries caused by tailgating accidents include:
- Whiplash and other neck injuries
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Seat belt syndrome
- Soft tissue injuries
- Back injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Broken bones and fractures
- Damage to internal organs
If you are involved in a rear-end accident, you should seek medical treatment for your injuries immediately. Do not ignore aches and pains; they could be symptoms of a serious injury.
The other driver’s insurance company may try to downplay the accident or your injuries. The adjuster might tell you that the crash was too “minor” to cause severe injuries. Do not accept that answer.
You could be entitled to economic damages, including loss of income, medical expenses, travel expenses, and the cost of personal care. You may also be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering and other non-economic damages.
If your doctor states that you sustained injuries, talk with a Miami car accident lawyer about your case. The insurance company may try to avoid liability by claiming your injuries do not meet the serious injury threshold for a personal injury claim or lawsuit. A claims adjuster works to protect the insurance company’s best interest, which means denying your claim or undervaluing your claim.
How Can You Avoid a Tailgating Accident?
You might not be able to control what other drivers do. However, you can take steps to reduce your risk of being involved in a tailgating accident.
Tips to avoid a rear-end accident include:
- Always drive the speed limit
- Adjust your speed as necessary for road and weather conditions
- Eliminate all distractions so you can focus on the road ahead
- Leave extra time to arrive at your destination
- Do not drive when you are angry
- Never drive when you are intoxicated or drowsy
- Avoid reckless driving behaviors
If another driver is following your vehicle too closely, do not slam on your brakes or do a “brake check.” This maneuver could result in an accident. Instead, let the driver pass and move on while you continue to practice safe driving behaviors.