Tailgating is often cited as a top factor in auto accidents, with experts estimating that as many as one-third of all car crashes involve tailgating as a contributing factor.
Following distances are a vital part of safe driving because stopping requires that you consider the combined effects of perception distance, reaction distance, and braking distance. The Louisiana DMV recommends using the "three second" rule to help you maintain a safe following distance. Choose an object in front of you such as a tree or road sign. When the vehicle in front of you passes this landmark, start counting seconds. If it takes less than three seconds for you to reach the same landmark, you're following too closely and should adjust your speed accordingly.
Tailgating is the term most often used to described following another vehicle too closely. In a literal sense, a driver is riding the tail of the vehicle in front of him. Tailgating can occur for a number of different reasons but is often attributed to driver inexperience, impatience, or distraction. Tailgating is also linked to road rage and aggressive driving, since following too closely is seen as a way to intimidate or frighten other drivers.
Injuries Associated With Tailgating Accidents
Tailgating is extremely dangerous because a driver doesn't have adequate space to stop if the vehicle in front of him slows down or brakes suddenly. When a tailgating driver rear ends a vehicle, he is almost always determined to be at fault for the accident.
Common injuries associated with tailgating accidents include:
- Facial cuts and lacerations
- Seat-belt related injuries to the neck and chest
- Sprains and strains
- Back and spinal cord injuries
Signs of injury may not be immediately obvious, due to the adrenaline rush the body receives after a trauma. Even if you feel fine after an accident, it is best to be evaluated by a medical professional as a precautionary measure.
What to Do After an Accident
Steps to take after an auto accident include:
- Provide basic first aid for those who are injured, but don't move anyone who is unconscious or complaining of neck or back pain unless an immediate hazard requires intervention. Moving someone with these symptoms can inadvertently create more serious injuries.
- Call the police for assistance, providing a description of your location as well as any injuries requiring medical care.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver and contact information with any witnesses.
- Take pictures of the accident scene, if you have your cell phone or a camera handy. Make notes to help you remember key details.
- Contact your insurance company to report the accident.
One thing you should never do after an auto accident is speculate as to who is responsible. Even if you think you were speeding or somehow contributed to the accident, do not admit fault. It's best to simply stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police or your insurance company.
How to Protect Your Legal Rights
Filing a personal injury claim protects your right to compensation for accident-related expenses. These can include:
- Medical care such as emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and follow-up appointments
- Anticipated future medical needs, if the accident has left you permanently disabled
- Lost wages while you were unable to work during your recovery period
- Loss of future earning potential, if you've been left permanently disabled as the result of your injuries
- Pain and suffering, including both physical pain and emotional trauma
Since personal injury cases are accepted on a contingency fee basis, there are no up-front costs associated with retaining legal representation. The attorneys at Neblett, Beard & Arsenault are dedicated to helping Louisiana residents who've suffered serious car accident injuries receive the compensation they need to move forward with their lives. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Appointments are available at six convenient office locations.