The dangers of tailgating on ice

Calculate how far you’d travel to stop your car. If the roads are icy, stay double that distance from the car ahead. Your life could depend on it.

How close is too close? When it comes to winter driving, caution is needed.
How close is too close? When it comes to winter driving, caution is needed.

Rear end collisions are the most frequent collisions and many of these occur because of tailgating: one of the drives was following another too closely to stop on time.

In most cases, if you ram the rear end of another car, you will be held at fault.

How close is too close? The rule of thumb is four seconds stopping distance in town and six seconds on the highway. You can calculate this by picking a post or a sign and begin counting one-thousand and one, one thousand and two and so on. If you reach four after you have passed your landmark, you are too close.

In icy weather, double that time and be sure to moderate your speed to take the conditions into account.

If someone is tailgating you, reduce your own speed slowly to encourage your tailgater to pass you. Or pull over to the right hand lane.

Remember, the heavier the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop, so be sure to leave plenty of room between you and a truck you are passing before pulling back into the right hand lane.

Other tips to avoid rear-ending someone else include keeping an eye on what’s up the road ahead of the guy in front of you. If you see tail lights going on ahead or even an impending street light change, you can anticipate the need for stopping well in advance. Check your rear view mirror frequently to see what the guy behind is doing.

Be aware of escape routes at all times in case the guy in front brakes unexpectedly or the fellow behind shows no intention of braking at all.

And in winter, invest in a set of snow tires. They really help you, not only with stopping but with steering control and traction.

A test showed that it took 10 feet more for an all-weather vehicle to stop than one equipped with winter tires, and that may just be the margin of life.

2 thoughts on “The dangers of tailgating on ice”

  1. Something should be said about how the drag effect from a tailgating vehicle can cause the leading vehicle to break traction on icy road conditions resulting in loss of control and a spinout.

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