Everyone these days is in a hurry. There’s too much to do but not enough time to do it, so it’s common to try to save time wherever possible. Reducing travel time isn’t easy to do safely, but motorists still try. While it doesn’t make sense, drivers sometimes follow very closely behind the vehicle in front of them, hoping to make them go faster.
At other times, drivers don’t pay close enough attention to surrounding traffic and wind up too close behind other cars. Regardless of the reason, tailgating is dangerous because you need to be far enough away from other cars to stop without colliding with them if they begin to slow down.
Tailgating leads to many car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents. Lots of these collisions produce serious injuries. Medical expenses mount while income is on hold, causing additional stress to those injured in auto accidents. Recovering is a full-time job, leaving no time to handle insurance claims. That’s why many people hire Jason Stone Injury Lawyers to represent them.
Why Is Tailgating Dangerous?
Objects in motion stay in motion until something causes them to stop. Car or truck drivers and motorcyclists must apply brakes to stop their vehicles, but stopping doesn’t happen instantly. It takes time to slow down and then stop.
For safety, driver’s education organizations recommend following the three-second rule. When the vehicle in front of you passes an immobile object, such as a speed limit sign, you should count three full seconds before you pass that same landmark.
Anything less than three seconds may not give you enough reaction time to avoid a collision if the car in front of you brakes suddenly. At 65 miles per hour, the safe traveling distance between vehicles is 285 feet. Heavy vehicles such as trucks, or those pulling trailers, typically need more time to stop than average cars do.
What Is Reaction Time?
Two common ways drivers attempt to avoid crashing into other vehicles or immobile objects are hard braking and sharp steering corrections. Sometimes, drivers do both. When applied to driving, your reaction time lasts from the moment a hazard occurs to the moment that your vehicle reacts to your instructions. The sequence goes something like this:
- The car in front of you begins to brake, making its brake light come on.
- You notice that light.
- You decide that the light means the car is starting to slow down and that you need to take corrective action to avoid hitting it.
- You choose what actions to take.
- You move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal and start depressing it, turning the steering wheel, or both.
- Your vehicle reacts to your input.
It might not seem like these actions take very long; they don’t. Studies show that reaction times to emergencies average between 1.5 to three seconds. However, vehicles that follow too closely behind others already have less time to avoid crashing. Any further delay in reacting dramatically increases the likelihood of a rear-end collision.
Are Rear-End Collisions Severe?
Rear-end collisions are some of the most common car accidents in the U.S. Any rear-end collision can cause serious injuries or fatalities, but the involvement of motorcycles or big trucks can dramatically increase the severity.
Motorcycle accidents are responsible for many traffic fatalities. Although the law requires that bikers wear helmets, they are not protected well in collisions. In fact, motorcycle riders are 35 times more likely to die in crashes than automobile drivers. Because motorcycles don’t have a large profile, drivers may have trouble spotting them, especially if the bike’s lights aren’t working properly. If you were riding a motorcycle and survived a crash caused by tailgating, call Jason Stone Injury Lawyers. We will rigorously negotiate with insurance companies to help you obtain the damages you deserve.
A fully loaded tractor-trailer is incredibly heavy, increasing the time and distance needed for them to stop. In addition, a truck’s dimensions pose unique risks in rear-end collisions.
Tailgating a truck is extremely dangerous. The bottom of a truck’s trailer is approximately five feet off of the ground, while most passenger vehicle hoods are less than that. If a truck begins to slow suddenly, cars tailgating that truck can drive under the rear of the truck and become wedged.
If the car is traveling fast enough, the passenger compartment can hit the rear of the truck, often producing severe, crippling, or fatal injuries.
Nobody likes to see a large truck looming in their rearview mirror, especially if the truck is too close. Many traffic conditions can require sudden braking, and tailgating trucks need more time to stop than the average vehicle on the road.
When trucks aren’t able to slow in time, the front of the truck can travel over the rear of the vehicle in front of them. This car becomes wedged under the truck, meaning that it won’t stop until the truck does. The truck’s momentum can easily smash the wedged car into other vehicles or roadway obstacles, crushing it and causing catastrophic injuries to car occupants.
If a tailgating truck hit you from behind, you are entitled to compensation. When trucks cause collisions, you can potentially hold more than one party responsible. The truck driver, the freight company, truck maintenance providers, and cargo loaders are possibly liable.
Because of multiple-party involvement, insurance claims in truck accidents are particularly complex. Don’t worry; the attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers know how to get to the bottom of things to get your compensation.
What Is Negligence?
In Massachusetts, you must prove that someone is guilty of negligence before you can seek to claim damages from them. Massachusetts uses modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases. When claiming that someone was negligent, you must prove:
- They owed you a duty of care
- They failed to provide that duty of care
- This breach of duty caused an accident
- You sustained injuries in that accident
The “duty of care” concept sounds confusing, but it’s actually simple. We can expect each person to act with reasonable care that anyone else would provide in the same circumstances to prevent harming others. In driving, every person who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle should drive in a safe manner to reduce the risk of colliding with and harming other people.
Tailgating is unquestionably negligent behavior. Every driver should know that following too closely behind other vehicles is risky and greatly increases the chance of collision.
Modified Comparative Negligence
Massachusetts determines liability using a percentage of your responsibility for an accident. If you are more than 51% responsible for causing car accidents, truck accidents, or motorcycle accidents, you are unable to recover any compensation for damages. Those found 50% or less responsible can seek compensation, but the total amount of damages is reduced by the assigned percentage of fault. For example, if you are 25% responsible for an accident with $100,000 in total damages, you can only receive $75,000.
Because of this law, it is crucial that you aren’t assigned much blame for your accident. The attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Law know what evidence to look for and how to find it to prove your innocence. We will:
- Obtain police reports
- Speak to witnesses
- Look at photos and videos of the accident scene, including any available surveillance camera footage that captured the collision as it happened
- Obtain driver cell phone records to see if anyone was using their phone immediately before the wreck
- Go over your medical records to determine the extent of your injuries and how they affect your life
Insurance companies will try to show that you are at least 51% responsible for causing the accident so they won’t have to pay you, even if their policyholder was tailgating. Without legal representation, they can intimidate you and take advantage. Your tailgating accident lawyer won’t let that happen.
If you sustained injuries in a tailgating-related accident, let us help you. You need to focus on recovering, and you don’t need the additional stress of trying to prove your innocence and another person’s guilt.
Why Hire Jason Stone Injury Lawyers?
Our firm handles only personal injury cases, meaning that we intimately know all the laws governing them. We’ve successfully represented injured Massachusetts citizens since 2004, gaining additional knowledge through experience. Because our attorneys focus on this area of law, we are uniquely qualified to provide our clients with competent legal assistance. We at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers are so confident in our abilities that we offer a Stone Cold Guarantee®. We have obtained over $60 million in compensation for our clients, and we’d like to help you too. Reach out today to schedule your free case evaluation. There’s No Obligation, Just Information ®. We’ll assess your accident and injuries, then give you your options. Call us at (800) 577-5188 or contact us online using our case evaluation request form or live chat. If you sustain injuries in a motor vehicle accident, Better Phone Stone ®.