Tailgating is potentially dangerous, and the practice can also cause traffic jams. Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab have found traffic jams occur from the failure of vehicles to keep an equal distance between the car in front and behind them, also known as tailgating. The team concluded that if every driver kept the proper distance between the vehicles on either side, the effect of individual cars changing speeds would cease as they travel, rather than create a traffic jam.
Humans are not likely to change ingrained driving habits, but technology may find a solution. If auto manufacturers added sensors to their rear bumpers and updated their cruise control systems, tailgating could become a thing of the past.
Tailgating and Rear-end Collisions
A driver who tailgates has considerably reduced their ability to stop quickly. The heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop. Ideally, a driver has at least two seconds worth of stopping time between their vehicle and the one in front of them. Insurers refer to this stopping time as the safety cushion. In bad weather or when visibility is poor, drivers should double their safety cushion to four seconds. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 2,000 people suffer fatal injuries because of a rear-end collision, and 950,000 are injured every year.
Rear-end Collision Injuries
Whiplash is the most common collision injury. Formally known as cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome, whiplash causes a sudden back and forth movement of the head and neck during an accident, like the cracking of a whip. Even a very low-impact rear-end collision can result in whiplash for those in the struck vehicle.
Whiplash victims might think they were uninjured, but their pain and stiffness may first appear up to 48 hours post-crash. That is why it is crucial to seek medical attention after a car accident, even if you do not think you were hurt. Most people recover from whiplash within several weeks, but for some individuals the whiplash pain becomes chronic.
In a high-speed rear-end collision, people in both vehicles may suffer serious injuries. These include:
- Broken bones
- Traumatic brain injury
- Spinal trauma, including paralysis
In a worst-case scenario, a serious rear-end collision may prove fatal to occupants of the vehicles involved.
Under Pennsylvania law, the driver should not follow another vehicle more closely than a reasonable amount, taking into consideration the speed of the vehicles, and the amount of traffic and highway conditions. In some circumstances, however, both parties may share liability.
Delaware County Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Victims of Rear-end Accidents
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident involving tailgating, you need the services of the experienced Delaware County car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Call us today at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. With offices throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the state, Delaware, and New Jersey.