A tailgating driver learns a lesson the hard way

I guess you could call this a lesson . . .

I’ve had a few people follow me like that.  Sadly, I have to confess that I’ve also followed others too closely, particularly slow drivers hogging the fast lane on an Interstate highway or something like that.  However, I can at least say I’ve never driven that close to them!  I guess I’ll have to pay more attention in future . . .



  1. Looks like the lead car was the specific cause of the accident by tapping the brakes, seemingly just to make the brake lights come on, though of course the tailgating was the more general cause.

  2. Tailgating is more dangerous than many other driving behaviours perceived as dangerous. Too many drivers up their own ego's designate themselves as a good driver and decide due to their percieved skill level they can drive closer to the car in front and still be safe. This reduces their braking distance and massively reduces their ability to see hazards in front of the car they are following while making them less able to cope with a sudden change in circumstance. That space I leave between my car and the car in front? That's for their mistakes. I've never met them. How can I trust they will react correctly in an incident. Although you say you have never been that close Peter without seeing the gap from the outside it can be very difficult to accurately judge the distance hidden by the bonnet.

  3. The police were actually looking for the driver who applied their brakes in the first video clip. There have been no follow up stories on whether or not that person was found, (because of course even if they have it isn't sensational enough for the news to bother to report).

  4. Funny how the AAA guy didn't see the entire right lane the slower car should have been in. I expect the cops are looking for the car that braked. That's a crime with intent.

    I've pushed on the interstate. Not out in the open, but when some idiot slows to ride in the blindspot of a truck or car in the right lane. Such doesn't usually require so close as you just have to enter into their perception and they'll speed up. I did have one where some idiot stopped halfway past a wide load. I would have never followed the fool down the left lane if he hadn't been overtaking and looked to go past the wide load. I could see the bridge coming up ahead and I pushed that fool hard before we were squeezed. To make the short bridge, the wide load needed both lanes. The idiot sped back up and we all avoided a bad situation.

  5. Driving has gotten to be very dysfunctional. Too many people drive without a care for your life or their own. I drive with a good amount of reaction and braking time space. Most of the accidents on Interstate in DFW are due to rear-end hits. Occasionally I'll have someone driving way to close to me and I give them (non-middle finger) signals to back off. It makes me very angry if they are in a truck and I'm in my Honda Accord (I have a truck too). Where appropriate I've even pulled over and let them go past and they act like I'm the guilty party. I'm not a slow driver and go as fast as the traffic ahead of me.

    Another aggravation and danger is the person who is in a real big hurry and changes lanes 6 times (in heavy traffic) and ends up only one or two cars ahead of me.

    I'm not too many years from retirement and will not miss the daily commute.

  6. "the police are looking for the driver of that first vehicle"?


    Would they be looking for him or her if they had braked becasuse of a car in front, or due to a pothole, or . . .?

    The person following too clsely is at fault, becaue even though the leading driver tapped the brakes, it is the responsibility of the following driver to maintain proper distance and to be able to stop safely.

    Although it did occur to me that 3 – or 4 – very similar vehicles all being in the same place at the same time, with cameras rolling, might be seen as a planned event.

  7. Wasn't it Robert Heinlein who said the one of the indicators of a failing society was general rudeness?

  8. I fail to see where the lead car (the one that braked) was in the wrong. Perhaps he felt the need to slow down for conditions or just turn his brake lights on. Either way, he(or she) did no wrong here. 'Twas the fault of the driver who was following to closely.

  9. I guess I'm in the minority here. The lead driver in the left lane should have moved to the right lane. The following driver OBVIOUSLY wanted to drive faster, so move over and let them. We don't know the speed limit in that situation, but I'd bet that the lead driver is not driving the speed limit.

    I've seen too many times where the driver in the left lane is either driving too slowly, or at varying speeds (usually matching the speed of the driver to their right). Yes, the following driver will get the ticket (as they DID hit the vehicle in front), but the lead driver is not without fault. there are a number of States where there is an infraction "Impeding the normal flow of traffic" or similar. The lead driver can be cited for that.

  10. I see *2* drivers better off as passengers.

    …and the tailgater was the *lesser* danger.

    BTW, while your state may vary, many states have laws
    specifically against "brake checking" a tailgater —
    I'm sure the blameless driver of the black SUV who'd
    just pulled onto the freeway and nearly got creamed
    by the out of control tailgater is now in favor of
    such. Thank God for the lack of "collateral damage".

    Kudos to the hiway designers for that median that
    corralled the tailgater short of the oncoming traffic.

  11. Instead of tapping the brakes, the car in front should have slowed down to a safer speed.

    If the car behind cannot maintain a safe following distance, the driver of the car in front can maintain a safer speed for that following distance.

    Don't like that? Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

    If it's too much for you to take, find a safe way to pass the vehicle.

    My take on this is that the driver who wrecked should NOT be covered by insurance for the "accident" because of driving in abeyance of the conditions of a typical auto insurance policy.

    Having some people have to pay out-of-pocket for this kind of nonsense should take care of the problem after a while …

  12. As far as I can tell, Texas wants more accidents, at least in Houston.

    No shoulders, no medians, everybody tailgates, people get angry if you leave any gaps. I'd love to move over from the left lanes, but when they see you trying, they close up ranks to stop you.

  13. I was in an accident because of a tailgater. I was the #2 car in a 6 car accident. I could have stopped in time, but the lady behind me was tailgating me. Unfortunately the 5 & 6 cars ran away. #4 had no insurance. So I had to pay for my damage with my uninsured motorist. Since then I have been very aggressive towards stopping tailgating. I don't want another accident. Too hard on my body and time dealing with the insurance company. My only mistake was not getting a good picture of the 5 and 6 cars before they fled. #6 was a black Mercedes suv. Accident was near a heavily Chinese area of LA.

    Another anon

  14. Just by coincidence my local paper had an article on regional traffic accidents. They crunched city, county and state statistics. Following too closely was the main cause of accidents – in the city and on the freeway.

  15. So much for the highly touted gadgets — electronic anti-skid, ESP, whatever these are called. They helped the second driver DIDDLY SQUAT when they were called on to perform.

  16. If you just want to get the rear driver's attention, tap the brake pedal with your left foot, while keeping a steady speed with the throttle foot.
    What usually sets off their panic reaction is the pitch change and sudden closure rate when you release the throttle and activate the brakes.

    Still, sometimes you have to resort to a real brake check to get them to back off. When I can't see your grill and headlights, I'm going to do something about it.

    I did it to some clown who was following me in the RIGHT HAND lane, in a 55 zone. He was smoking his tires in response. Shortly after, he passed me in the left lane while shaking his fist at me, and I could then see he was wearing a NJ State Police uniform. Probably his POV, as it didn't seem to be an unmarked unit. Traffic was light, and I was doing the limit. Less than a 1/4 mile after passing me, we ended up sitting at a traffic light, and he ignored me.

  17. BTW, that SUV that crashed was due to the driver's incompetence. She tried to turn and panic brake at the same time. She was slow at reacting to changes, and finally released the brakes too late to regain control. Unfortunately, most drivers in the US are at that same level of marginal competence. This is almost entirely due to them never thinking about how to deal with a vehicle in less than perfect conditions, and never practicing any sort of emergency moves to counter surprises on the road.
    If you don't practice maximum braking effort, for instance, how will you know what the vehicle is going to do in response? That's a minimum attempt to find the limits, people! More than that should be practiced.

  18. To Merlin:

    …"The lead driver in the left lane should have moved to the right lane."…

    If you watch the video, the lead driver is driving at a rate faster than that of right lane traffic (and so was passing slower traffic.) For what it's worth, most traffic flow laws stipulate "Keep Right, Pass Left" or "Keep Right Except to Pass". Add to that, a third vehicle can be seen entering traffic from a right-lane on-ramp just before the incident.

    …"The following driver OBVIOUSLY wanted to drive faster, so move over and let them. We don't know the speed limit in that situation, but I'd bet that the lead driver is not driving the speed limit."…

    Irrelevant as far as fault is concerned. The lead driver was passing. In addition, the vehicle entering the highway would have made moving to the right lane at the time a bad decision on the lead driver's part. For all we know, the lead driver may have moved left to allow traffic to enter the roadway, unimpeded.

    The tailgater in this instance was not just a bad driver, but a distracted one, too — wildly over-reacting to the braking vehicle ahead. If I was the LEO responding to that call, I'd have checked her cellphone for texting while driving, and I'd have cited her for careless/reckless driving, either way.

    I move over to let anyone who wants to pass, pass, even if I'm traveling well over the speed limit. I regularly see people people tailgating lead drivers traveling at 20mph over the limit, (in traffic that allows no faster rate of travel because the highway is at full volume.) It's a bit dense to expect people to move over to let you pass if the next thousand cars are all moving at the same rate you both are. And yet the world is full of those who seem to expect this.

    Tailgating is dangerous habit. There is no justification for it.

  19. A friend of mine was following someone, at highway speeds, a little too closely, though nothing like that video. The car in front suddenly swerved into another lane, and my friend ran into a washing machine that had apparently just fallen out of a truck further up. His car was totalled, and he had some injuries, as well. A little more following distance would have allowed him time to react.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *