While tailgating a slow moving tractor trailer may make you feel like you're getting to your destination faster, there are several dangerous and legal ramifications for following trucks too closely.
Besides getting a traffic ticket, following too closely could leave you with a smashed vehicle or serious injuries.
So how can you avoid a truck accident from tailgating?
Consequences of Following Too Closely
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 400,000 motor vehicle accidents involve large trucks and 18 percent of those crashes are rear-end accidents. Trucks that are struck in the rear by another vehicle often produce fatal crashes. Because of the sheer magnitude of the big wheeler, it's more likely that they can cause severe injury upon impact compared to an average car.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that rear-end truck accidents are more likely to occur on divided roads and highways because drivers tend to be more relaxed on divided highways and may not respond as quickly to sudden changes in traffic.
A truck accident attorney in Philadelphia will tell you that under Pennsylvania law, it's illegal for a driver to follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable. Drivers must also take the speed of other vehicles around them and highway conditions into consideration. Violating this law can result in a traffic citation.
Safe Driving Tips
Now that you understand the consequences of following trucks too closely, what can you to do prevent an accident?
The most obvious tip is to leave at least an extra 20 feet between you and the truck in front of you. The extra space will give you more time to get out of the way in case the truck stops short. Plus, in most rear-end accidents, the driver who rear-ends the other motorist is liable for any injuries or property damage because the law requires that you leave adequate space between you and the vehicle in front.
Besides giving ample room behind a truck, you shouldn't drive between two trucks because you could be in their blind spots, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Truck drivers have large blind spots on both sides of their vehicles. So the rule of thumb is that if you can't see the driver's face in the side-view mirror, he can't see your car.
Unlike cars, trucks don't have a rearview mirror, so the driver can't see directly behind him. So not only are you breaking the law by following too closely, but you're also tempting fate for a serious accident.