Colorado Drivers Guilty of Aggressive Driving Behavior
Each year for several months, you hear a lot about tailgating in communities with college or professional football teams, where fans gather around vehicles parked near the stadium to enjoy pre-game camaraderie. “Tailgating” has an entirely different meaning on the highway, however, where it has become a leading cause of fatal auto accidents in Colorado and across the nation.
Tailgating Is Considered Aggressive Driving
Simply put, tailgating is described as driving in a way that puts you at risk of hitting a car that stops in front of you. Tailgating is especially dangerous when the driver doing the tailgating is behind a large tractor-trailer or, worse, a gas tanker truck. I Drive Safely is a national company that develops defensive driving courses, and its experts note that tailgating is among the actions that are considered aggressive driving, which according to the American Automobile Association (AAA), is very common among drivers in the United States. Aggressive driving, which also includes actions such as speeding and failing to obey basic traffic laws, accounts for millions of accidents each year and approximately 2,000 deaths in fatal crashes.
Colorado Tailgaters Are the Worst
When it comes to where drivers are more prone to tailgate, there’s bad news for those in Colorado. A few years ago, research showed that drivers in Colorado ranked as the most dangerous tailgaters in the country.
Specifically, when it comes to aggressive driving, two national statistics stand out:
- Half of those who are targeted by the aggression admit to responding to the situation with aggression themselves.
- Two percent of those targeted by an aggressive driver admit that they respond not only with aggression but by trying to run the aggressor off the road.
Taking such counteraction is not the way to go if you find yourself being tailgated. If you can safely pull over, do so and alert authorities. If you are the aggressor, you need to slow down, as your actions can cause a serious wreck that can injure or kill someone.
Seconds Count in Avoiding a Car Accident
Depending on the time of day and the road conditions, drivers need to give themselves space. Following too closely can lead to a rear-end collision if the driver ahead of you should suddenly brake. There are some specific rules that should be followed to try and avoid a rear-end crash, and the first thing drivers must do is understand that the faster you drive, the more time you need to come to a complete stop. For instance:
- If you are traveling 20 mph, you need at least 25 feet to come to a stop once you’ve applied the brakes
- At 35 mph, you need 106 feet
- And, at 55 mph, you will need up to 228 feet to come to a stop
The distance can be measured by car lengths, but an easier way to determine whether you’ve got enough space between you and the car ahead of you is to count. You may have heard of the three-second rule, which gives you ample space to come to a stop if the car in front of you should suddenly brake. An easy way to determine whether you have the required space is to locate a fixed point, such as a telephone pole ahead of you, and start counting when the car before you approaches that fixed point. If you reach the same spot in less than three seconds, you have not left enough room between you and the car ahead of you. Authorities say you should increase the time to four seconds if you are driving at night or in inclement weather.
Tailgating is dangerous for everyone on the road, and it can and should be avoided. Remember, if you are following too close to the car ahead of you, a couple of seconds is all it takes to go from driving to being in a rear-end crash.