Tailgating is not only a rude driving behavior, but it is also a dangerous one. Following too closely puts yourself, your passengers and the occupants of the vehicles with whom you are sharing the road at risk for getting into collisions that may result in serious injuries or death.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, following too closely may cause the vehicle in front of you to block the view in front of you, keeping you from seeing as much of the road as you should. Without adequate space between your vehicle and the car in front of you, you may lack the necessary room to brake or maneuver should another driver make a mistake or a hazard come up on the road ahead.
Leaving three seconds between your vehicle and the car in front of you may help ensure you have space to safely react to situations on the road. To determine your following distance, select a point and begin counting the seconds when the vehicle in front of you passes it. You should not pass the same point until you finish counting to three seconds.
If another driver is following you too closely, you should take action to put extra space between your vehicle and theirs. This may involve merging into another lane or gradually reducing your speed. Having enough distance between them may help you avoid a collision without having to swerve into another lane or slam on your brakes in the event of a sudden change in the traffic conditions or a hazard on the road.
It may take up to 210 feet for you to react and bring your vehicle to a stop when traveling at 35 mph. The distance needed to safely and fully stop increases at greater speeds and with unfavorable weather, poor road conditions, and worn tires and brakes. Therefore, it is also advisable that you refrain from suddenly braking when you are being tailgated by another motorist.
The information in this post is meant for general purposes only and should not be viewed as legal advice.