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Tailgating: A Bad Habit

Bad habits cause injuries and costs $

Recently I spoke to the newly-licensed son of a friend, to ask how his driving had been going.  I thought I would be helpful in offering ways to avoid the most common types of accidents. The first that comes to mind, is to not follow too closely to the vehicle in front of you, commonly known as “tailgating”.

Mindlessly following a vehicle too closely, is disrespectful and dangerous to both you and the other driver. It’s a problem you will find in Dartmouth as much as any other town.  It may not occur to the tailgater, they are portraying themselves as impatient at best and more likely a description with some expletives.

This is because, tailgating makes no sense in the first place other than to send a message.  You will not arrive at your destination any sooner. If the other driver does not let you pass right away or is unable to let you pass, then you are just sending a negative message about yourself.

Not only are you invading private space, you are endangering the driver in front of you. Remember, it isn’t just your “car” tailgating another car, it is you the person, invading the personal and safe-space of another person.

Remember this fact, with most roads and highways in Dartmouth and everywhere,  a driver has the right to slow or stop, at any time for any reason that they think is necessary. It could be as simple as a leaf blowing across the street which looks like a small animal, so they slow down or stop. As the tailgater, you are “sunk” if you cannot stop in time and you rear-end them. The insurance companies and the law says you are the one at fault!

If pure logic can’t change a bad driving habit, then perhaps money can.


Consequences of Tailgating

The consequences of an at-fault accident can be mind-blowing. The increase in insurance premium over the years is tremendous. These are out-of-pocket expenses that can total thousands of dollars. A typical increase in insurance premium for at-fault accident may an increase a policy premium as much as $2,000 over five years.

In addition, if serious bodily injury occurs to the driver or passengers, a lawsuit can result. If your insurance policy’s liability limits for bodily injury are not adequate then your assets and home ownership equity are at stake from a jury award or court settlement!  What is worse is your future earnings are also at stake,  by the means of a jury awarding your future earnings. This is called garnishment. Here is a dictionary definition:   a court order directing that money or property of a third party (usually wages paid by an employer) be seized to satisfy a debt owed by a debtor to a plaintiff creditor.



To prevent a tailgating accident develop the habit of always leaving a large distance between you and the driver in front of you.  To determine a safe distance you can use the three-second rule.  Pick an object on the road that the car in front passes by and count the seconds “one-two-three”. If you pass the object before you reach “three”, slow a little to allow more space. Again, you will arrive at your destination without loss of time.