Questions for a tailgater…
When I’m teaching my students at Young Drivers of Canada I will often remind them to ask questions any time they feel confused or aren’t sure what to do next. I promote the asking of questions, including with my kids. What better way to find out an answer to a problem. With this in mind, I have a few questions that I would like answers to. Oh, and my questions are for those drivers who like to tailgate.
Dear tailgater, why do you do it? Do you really think you’ll get to your destination a lot sooner? Following distance isn’t measured by car lengths. Once upon a time many drivers thought so, but it’s no longer the case. There are a lot more factors that need to be included.
Dear tailgater, did you know that most of the time it takes you to stop comes from what your eyes see (perception), the time it takes your brain to get the message and time to get your foot from the gas to the brake (reaction)? The stopping distance itself takes the shortest time of all.
Dear tailgater, did you know that it takes roughly 3/4 of a second before your brain identifies the brake lights of the vehicle ahead of you are on. It then takes roughly another 3/4 of a second to get your foot from the gas pedal and move it to the brake pedal. And that doesn’t even account the actual time it takes while braking to actually stop your vehicle. This is in ideal conditions of course. This is at city speeds and explains why you need to stay a minimum of two seconds behind the vehicle ahead of you. Add in inclement weather or higher speeds and that stopping distance takes much, much longer.
Dear tailgater, did you know you can block your view up ahead when you follow so closely? If you stayed further back from the vehicle ahead of you, you can see traffic slowdowns earlier and switch lanes to keep traveling to your destination.
Dear tailgater, did you know your selfishness to attempt to reach your destination is putting the occupants of the vehicle ahead of you at risk of injury? If the vehicle ahead of you had to brake remotely hard for a pedestrian about to step in front or of a cyclist attempting to enter their path close to them, you would rear end their vehicle. As a matter of fact, your vehicle would hit their vehicle before you had the chance to take your foot off the gas pedal.
Dear tailgater, did you know you’re also going to severely damage your own vehicle if you tailgate and the driver ahead of you stops suddenly? Why would you want to do that to your own possession? How hard did/do you have to work to pay for your vehicle only to have it damaged by your own actions?
Dear tailgater, in every jurisdiction you’ll be charged with following too closely after the crash. That’s a reactive charge, not a proactive charge. In other words, drivers rarely get ticketed for following too closely before a collision happens. It’s usually after they rear ended someone. Not only will you be charged by the police, but you’ll also have the deductible to pay before your insurance kicks in. and as far as your insurance, expect your annual rates to go up. Once they start to go up because of a claim, they rarely drop. It can be a very expensive hobby.
Dear tailgater, I hope this makes sense and I hope you can answer these questions. If not for me, at least for yourself.