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Stopping distances and the risk of tailgating

  • Rated By Super Lawyers | Mauro Fiore, Jr.| Selected in 2017 | Thomson Reuters
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When someone is tailgating your car, does it make you feel a bit nervous and unsettled? Not only do you want to keep going at your current speed, but you know that person is recklessly putting you in danger.

The problem is that an emergency situation may not give them time to stop. Say a dog runs into the road and you hit the brakes to avoid it. If that car can't stop in time, it then hits your vehicle. You could suffer serious injuries, even if you were driving safely, just because the person behind you was careless.

After all, if you're going 60 miles per hour in your car, that means you probably need 240 feet to stop safely. So does the car behind you. Technically, it may only take around 180 feet after you press down on the brakes -- assuming your car is in good condition and that the roadway is dry and clear -- but you have to add another 60 feet onto that to account for reaction time -- the time that passes after you see that you have to bring the car to a halt and before you touch the brakes.

That's a lot of distance, and odds are the car behind you can't stop in time if they're right on your bumper. It only gets worse if that driver has a longer reaction time due to distraction, intoxication or feeling too tired to drive.

If you get in an accident, make sure you know how to get financial compensation for lost wages, medical bills and other costs.

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