How Do You Know If You're Tailgating a Truck?

dark colored car rear ended yellow truck on road

It’s important to always keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front of you in traffic. When you don’t, your risk of getting in an accident goes up. But this is especially true when driving behind a large commercial truck. Failure to maintain a safe following distance can lead to potentially catastrophic accidents that put you at risk of severe injuries and legal liability.

The Importance of Maintaining a Safe Following Distance

Keeping a safe distance between vehicles improves your visibility and gives you more time and space to react if the truck in front of you brakes suddenly. Even if you’re paying careful attention to what’s happening around you, you may not have time to avoid a collision if you’re following too closely behind a truck.

Remember, trucks take longer to stop and may have to brake earlier than smaller vehicles. This fact is why you should allow at least three seconds of stopping time between your vehicle and the truck in front of you. Increase this distance in inclement weather.

It can be frustrating to find yourself behind a large truck when driving in heavy traffic or in a hurry, but being patient, maintaining a safe distance, and sticking to a consistent speed when possible can help protect you from a devastating accident.

Signs You Are Tailgating a Truck

How do you know if you are tailgating a truck? Here are three signs to watch out for:

  • If you can’t see the truck’s side-view mirrors, you’re likely driving too close. Slow down until you can see their mirrors, which means the driver can see you, too.
  • It can be hard to see around large trucks even in ideal circumstances, but if the truck obstructs your whole view, you should slow down until your visibility improves.
  • If you keep noticing yourself having to brake to avoid rear-ending the truck, you’re driving too close. Slow down and put more distance between your vehicle and the truck.

By watching for these signs, you can stay safe, avoid tailgating, and reduce your risk of being involved in a dangerous rear-end collision with a much larger vehicle.

Why Is It Dangerous to Tailgate a Truck?

Tailgating a truck is dangerous for several reasons. First and foremost, if the truck brakes and you haven’t given yourself enough stopping distance, you could wind up rear-ending it. An especially dangerous scenario involves a vehicle failing to stop in time and driving under the rear of the truck. Known as an underride collision, this type of accident is very often fatal for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

Tailgating also presents a risk of being hit by poorly secured cargo. If you’re driving behind a large truck and any of its load comes loose, you need time to react and get out of the way to avoid being hit by debris.

Get Help from Our Alabama Truck Accident Lawyers

If you’ve been hurt in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault, Morris, King & Hodge, P.C. can help you deal with any legal issues resulting from the collision. When you meet with our tailgating accident lawyers, we’ll review your legal options and advise you on the best path forward. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Since 1966, our lawyers have been standing up for injured victims and taking cases to court in North Alabama and all across the state. If you’re hurt in an accident, you want to be sure that you have the most qualified injury & accident lawyers representing you with a proven track record representing injured victims in the courts.