Following Too Closely is the technical phrase for Tailgating. Unfortunately, it is a term that is all too often used in collision reports as the “Primary Collision Factor”. Maintaining distance between vehicles while driving is one main key in preventing collisions. Even the best driver, with great reaction time, still takes a moment to perceive the need to slow or stop, and then apply the vehicle brakes.
Increasing following distance between vehicles increases our ability to perceive a problem, apply brakes if needed or take some other evasive action. Time and distance is your friend when it comes to speed. As a young driver, you are taught about the Three Second Rule. Sometimes we forget this one important piece of advice. But maintaining a following distance of three seconds between vehicles will definitely increase your ability to avoid a rear end collision. An alternate recommendation is to maintain a following distance of one car length per 10 mph while driving. So, if you are driving 65 mph on the freeway, you should be about 6-7 car lengths behind the vehicle in front of you.
Don’t become overconfident, either in your ability as a driver or in your vehicle. Remember the basic rules and greatly increase your chance to avoid a collision. Think about this; tailgating the car in front of you is not going to "push" them out of the way or down the road. Your disregard for safe following distance will only increase your chances of causing a collision. Take a breath, take your time and we'll all get there in one piece.