It might not seem that tailgating is a serious traffic offense, but tailgating is a contributor to one-third of all crashes and it is the leading cause of rear-end accidents in Kansas City and throughout Missouri and Kansas.

 Why is tailgating so dangerous? Tailgating refers to following another car closely.  When you tailgate, you have less time to react to a problem on the roadway or to make a quick stop.  If the car in front of you suddenly brakes, you may not have time to come to a full stop and you will rear-end the car in front of you. If you are on a busy highway and multiple cars are tailgating, a chain reaction crash could occur. 
Avoiding tail-gating is one of the best ways to prevent Kansas City rear-end crashes.  To allow enough stopping distance, make you have at least one car length of distance between you and the car you are following for every ten miles per hour you are driving. For example, if you are driving at 55 miles per hour on I-635, you should leave five and a half car lengths between you and the next car.  If the car you are following is a truck, leave extra space.   Big rig trucks are heavy and need more room to stop.   You should also leave more space if the weather is icy or wet.
Another way to estimate the proper amount if following distance is to use the "Two Second Rule".  Choose a landmark such as a road sign.  After the car in front of you drives past the sign, count two seconds.  If you have already passed the sign, you are following to close.  Increase the distance to four seconds when roadways are wet and to ten seconds if it is icy or snowy.
What can you do if an impatient driver is riding your tail? Stay calm. Don't exceed the speed limit in an attempt to outrun the tailgater and don't tap your brakes in order to "teach him a lesson". These behaviors cause accidents. You can try waving the other driver ahead of you or gradually slow down and pull over.

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James Roswold
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James Roswold is a Kansas & Missouri personal injury, workers comp, and medical malpractice attorney.