Tailgating or following too closely behind another motorist is aggressive driving behavior that is risky and vexatious to other drivers. Following too closely behind a vehicle increases the risk of a rear-end collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), 32% of all motor vehicle crashes resulting in serious injuries involved rear-end collisions in 2019.
As traffic comes to a crawl at the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel due to construction, accidents are considerable. The Elizabeth River Tunnels have also seen more and more congestion as many workers return to the office.
According to the Insurify Insights 2021 study on the states with the highest tailgating, 14 out of every 10,000 drivers in the United States had previously received a citation for tailgating. Out of all 50 states, Virginia has the fifth-worst rate of tailgaters. In Virginia, around 35 drivers per 10,000 motorists were cited for tailgating.
Virginia's top-rated car accident attorneys at Kalfus & Nachman can assist in protecting your rights if you have been involved in an accident caused by tailgating or following too closely in Virginia.
Virginia Law on Tailgating
As per Virginia’s Vehicle code §46.2-816, relating to drivers following too closely,
"The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another motor vehicle, trailer, or semitrailer more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard to the speed of both vehicles and the traffic on, and conditions of, the highway at the time."
In Virginia, tailgating or following too closely is a traffic infraction that can result in penalties and DMV demerit points. The penalty for violating Virginia Code §46.2-816 is between $81 to $250. A conviction will also result in the tailgating driver receiving four demerit points to his DMV record that will stay on record for three years. Ignoring a ticket for following too closely in Virginia will likely result in the suspension of your driver's license.
There are legal defenses available if a driver is accused of tailgating. However, it is in the driver's best interests to consult with an attorney before filing a claim.
Reasons Why People Tailgate
Tailgating is the most commonly reported cause of accidents, and from the perspective of Personal Injury litigation, it is a sure way to end up on the wrong side of a case. Drivers engage in this reckless behavior for many reasons:
- Road rage
- Running late
- Congested traffic conditions
- Poor weather conditions
Many drivers are unaware of the consequences of tailgating. They have a false sense of confidence that they will be able to stop before causing an accident. Unfortunately, many of these people are wrong. Keeping a safe distance of 3 or 4 seconds worth between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you is the best way to avoid a tailgating accident.
Common Injuries in Tailgating Crashes
Auto accidents often result in a range of injuries that are either minor or catastrophic. Broken bones, cuts, bruises, soft tissue injuries, and others are common injuries in any motor vehicle accident. Some of the significant injuries that may result from a tailgating accident are following:
- Neck injuries
- Spinal cord and back injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones and fractures
- Damage to internal organs
Injuries caused by a tailgating accident can be deceptive. Symptoms may not appear for a few days, weeks, or even months after the crash. Kalfus & Nachman's expert car accident lawyers in Virginia advise victims to avoid any delay in seeking medical attention after the crash. The delay in documenting your injuries through medical records may also make recovering a reasonable compensation more challenging.
What should you do if you are being tailgated or followed too closely?
Tailgating can quickly turn into a dangerous scenario if not managed safely and sensibly. In the unfortunate event that you are being tailgated in Virginia, try these driving tips to help prevent an accident.
- Stay Calm and Keep Your Distance - Tailgaters have the potential to be intimidating. Whatever the other driver's reasons, you try to stay calm and look for a clearing in traffic to get as far away as possible.
- Continue Driving at Same Speed - It may be tempting to accelerate or brake check when followed too closely, but resist doing so. Allow tailgating driver to pass you. Just keep driving at the same speed until they safely pass you.
- Pull Over - When you have a safe opportunity to pull over, you signal and just get out of the tailgater's way calmly and let them go.
- Don't Try to Police Tailgaters - Nothing you do will make aggressive tailgaters back off, so don't waste your time trying. It's best to steer aside and let the vehicle pass. Pull over and phone local authorities to report an erratic or risky driver if you're truly worried for your or others' safety on the road.
If you become a victim of a tailgating accident even after taking all the precautions to avoid a tailgating driver, seek immediate legal counsel to secure the compensation you deserve for your injuries and other losses.
Virginia Tailgating Car Accident Attorneys with Experience
Virginia upholds the law of contributory negligence, which is an insurance company’s dream and plaintiff’s worst nightmare. Plaintiffs lose if found to be even 1% at fault for the accident as they can be barred from recovering damages. Thus, victims must protect their legal rights immediately by contacting an experienced personal injury attorney after a tailgating accident.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident caused by tailgating or following too closely in Virginia, Kalfus & Nachman have a team of knowledgeable, highly skilled lawyers and team members who are ready to assist the victims of tailgating injuries. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the accident scene, make a compelling case, and secure the settlement you deserve. Call us to schedule a free consultation today: 855-880-8163