Five Types of Tailgaters

Five Types of Tailgaters

Following another car too closely, or tailgating, is in violation of California code 21703, which states that a “driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicle and the traffic upon, and the condition of, the roadway.” Yet, it is virtually impossible to drive anywhere and not see someone tailgating or to have another driver tailgate you. According to the National Safety Council, there are essentially four types of tailgaters, which are described below. We added a fifth: drunk or drowsy drivers.

The Distracted Driver

The first type of tailgater is a driver who isn’t thinking about what could happen if the vehicle in front of them decides to brake for some reason (or simply is not looking at the road, and looking at their phone instead). They may know tailgating is dangerous, but their mind is so distracted when driving that they don’t consider their current situation. When the vehicle in front of them brakes suddenly, the tailgater simply runs into them.

The Ignorant Tailgater

Some drivers simply do not understand that tailgating is dangerous, and that by not allowing enough space between themselves and the car in front, they are putting themselves and others at risk. There is no excuse for this degree of traffic ignorance, of course. What is more likely than a driver not knowing that tailgating in general is dangerous, is a driver who does not know how much space they should allow from their vehicle to the vehicle in front. A simple rule of thumb is to give the vehicle in front of you at least three seconds of space, and more if you are going above 40 miles an hour, your vehicle is large and hard to slow down, or if the road is wet.

The Complacent Tailgater

A driver may be paying attention and know that tailgating is dangerous and against the law, yet they do it anyways. Why? This type of driver has most likely gotten away with tailgating for years without incident, or they are simply a very slow learner.

The Aggressive or Road-Raged Tailgater

Aggressive drivers intentionally drive up on other vehicles’ bumpers to intimidate the other driver into speeding up, pulling over so they can pass, or to get even with the other driver for some reason.

Drunk or Drowsy Tailgater

Drunk drivers and drowsy or fatigued drivers tailgate because they have difficulty paying attention to the road or focusing on driving, and following closely seems easier than navigating the road themselves. 

Talk to a San Jose Traffic Collision Attorney Today for Help 

If you were injured in a collision caused by a tailgater, you should call the experienced San Jose personal injury lawyers at the Solution Now Law Firm. We can help you recover damages for your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage and more. Let us hold the negligent tailgater responsible by calling us today at to schedule a free consultation.

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