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Tailgating caused over 25,000 auto accidents in Louisiana in 2015

Motorists on Louisiana roadways ought to remember this number when they follow the vehicle in front of them too closely. Even though the law does not specify how close a vehicle must be in order for the driver to be considered tailgating, the Louisiana State Police recommend leaving approximately 400 feet -- or a three second distance -- between vehicles unless in a residential or business district. Telling people how much room to leave and getting them to adhere to it is the hard part and often results in auto accidents.

The 25,000 crashes that resulted from following too closely in 2015 more than likely only represents a fraction of the number of drivers who fail to leave a safe distance between their vehicles and the vehicles in front of them on a regular basis. This number merely represents the unlucky drivers who were rear-ended. Tailgating accidents can be serious enough at residential and urban speeds; at highway speeds, they can be fatal.

One trucker was recently involved in an accident involving another driver who was following too closely. He is positive that it might have been far worse if not for a safety measure on his truck that essentially bounces vehicles away from his vehicle if impacted. Otherwise, the other vehicle could have ended up underneath his truck and run over by the tires.

Louisiana drivers might not consider tailgating to be particularly dangerous because they believe they are able to handle their vehicles. However, that confidence is often misplaced. Being too close to a vehicle in front of a driver leaves little time to react if necessary. Victims of tailgaters retain the right to file personal injury claims -- or wrongful death claims in the event of the death of a family member. Establishing that the other driver's negligence caused or contributed to the injuries suffered could lead to an award of damages typically seen in auto accidents.

Source:, "SPECIAL REPORT: Following too closely on the roads", Candy Rodriguez, Jan. 9, 2017

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